Home TEACH Subject Verb Agreement Examples

Subject Verb Agreement Examples

In writing students of English as a second language will commonly make mistakes with something called subject verb agreement. Now when you want your subject in your verb to agree that simply means that a singular subject needs a singular verb in a plural subject needs a plural verb.

It seems like a pretty basic idea but even the highest level student will make this mistake on occasion. Let’s look at ways that you can avoid this mistake so always consider compound subjects meaning, subjects that are two nouns together connected with and compound subjects will always take a plural verb.

Let’s look at an example the house and the yard are in need of some maintenance now there is one exception to this and that’s when you’re using combinations, like neither nor either or and not only but also when you’re using neither or nor the verb will agree with the closer subject.

Let me show you an example neither my parents nor my brother is attending my graduation. Now parents is plural brother is singular, but because brother is closer to the verb the verb is singular now. If we flip it and say neither my brother nor my parents are attending my graduation in that case now parents being plural is closer to the verb and the verb changes to a plural.

Consider indefinite pronouns or words like one each everybody someone anyone these words will always take a singular verb. For example each of the students was given a warning now in this case even though student has an.

It the subject of that sentence is each so it has to be singular and the third thing to consider is what we call collective nouns meaning a noun that is a group of people acting as one thing. In other words group is a collective noun or our family team committee usually these words will take a singular verb

For example the audience was waiting for a long time for the performance to begin in this case you’re talking about the audience as one thing so the verb is singular. Now if you take one of those words and you’re using it to show the individual members of that group acting individually.

Then you might want to use a plural verb instead now some problem areas that occur that. You should consider also sometimes with prepositional phrases students get confused now look at this example one of my friends is from Amsterdam.

Now in this case friends might be confused as the subject of that sentence, but if you know that a prepositional phrase cannot be the subject of the sentence. You’ll know that one is the subject and therefore will have a singular verb similarly sometimes.

We invert the word order in a sentence and that might confuse a student as well down the path and through the trees was a beautiful beach, in that case the subject is beautiful beach and therefore needs a singular verb.

The best way to avoid this kind of mistake is after you’ve written an essay or written an exam to always go back through your work and proofread and keep this mistake in mind be conscious of it and look for these mistakes in your work okay so to practice a subject verb agreement.

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