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A lesson on verbs and verb-subject agreement

Katie West

on 20 October 2014

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Transcript of Verbs

a verb is an action word.
it's what's happening!

Verbs Tenses
Verb and Subject Agreement
Identifying subjects and verbs
Subjects: 1
Identifying the verb
Identifying Subjects: 2
The way in which verbs are expressed varies depending on what tense they're in.
Maru the cat = subject
jump = verb
Only one of the company executives has insurance.
The range of tasks and skill requirements allows for upward growth.

We wonder if the invoice for the two shipments is lost.

All employees except for Tom are to report early.
Shaleena, along with her family, is going on vacation.

The priceless book, as well as other valuable documents, was lost in the fire.
past continuous
present simple
present continuous
past simple
present perfect
present perfect continuous
conditional perfect
past perfect
conditional continuous
future perfect
present perfect
past perfect continuous
future simple
future continuous
future perfect continuous
conditional continuous
what is the subject? what is the verb?
Maru jumped into the box.
Either July or August is a good time for a conference.
Several members were invited; others were overlooked.
The Board of Directors meets on Friday.
Singular verbs always end in s!
I obeyed the law.
I have obeyed the law.
I obey the law.
I am obeying the law.
I will obey the law.
I will be obeying the law.
Maru is going to jump into the box.
Maru jumps into the box.
The rule of verb and subject agreement is that verbs must agree with the subject that is performing the verb in number (singular/plural) and person.
Prepositional phrases: find the subject that comes before the preposition.
Intervening elements: verb agrees with the subject introduced before the interruption
The priceless book and other valuable documents were lost in the fire.
Subjects: 3
Subjects joined by Or or similar connectives: or, either...or, neither...nor, not only...but also
Neither the Credit Department nor the Accounting Department has the file.

Either July or August is a good time to visit a lake.
Neither the managers nor the salesclerks have the data.

Not only the windows but also the doors are broken.
If both subjects are singular, then use a singular verb.
If both subjects are plural, then use a plural verb.
If the sentence has two subjects and one is singular and the other plural, have the verb agree with the subject that is closest.
Neither the manager nor the buyers are in favour of the system,

Not only Jen but also her sisters are getting married in 2014.

Either the cat or the dogs have fleas.
Sentences usually sound better when the plural subject goes second!
Identifying Subjects: 4
Indefinite pronouns as subjects: can be always singular, always plural, or either.
Neither one of the applicants is eligible.

Every customer and supplier has been notified.

Everyone is required to register in order to vote.

Anyone and everyone is entitled to a fair trail.
Even if two singular indefinite pronouns are joined by
the verb is still singular.
Many were asked, but few were able to answer.

Is there any money left?

Some of the software was acceptable.

Some of the tapes were acceptable.
Subjects: 5
Collective subjects: nouns that are singular but represent a group are singular or plural depending on their actions.
If the group is acting as a single unit, use a singular verb:

The committee has agreed to submit its report.

The jury has reached a decision.
If the members of the group are acting separately, use a plural verb:
The members of the committee are not in agreement.

I hope your family are well.
(Emphasizes individuals in family.)

I hope your family is well.
(Emphasizes family as a whole.)
There are
different ways you can try to identify the subject in a sentence:
Maru knows verb-subject agreement can be confusing, but when you practice, it will become easier!
Full transcript