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Using Subject-Verb Agreement

What is subject-verb agreement?


How to fix problems in agreement
Phrases between subjects and verbs
Indefinite pronouns
Compound subjects
Subjects after verbs
Dont and doesnt
Review A
Review B

What is subject-verb agreement?


Every sentence has a subject and a verb.
Subject Verb

The dog
runs.
runs.
dog runs.
Subject Verb

A ship
ship sails.
sails.
sails.
Subject

Verb

Two children
childrenplay
play
playmusic.
music.
music.

What is subject-verb agreement?


Number

Number is the form a word takes to show


whether it is singular or plural.
A word that refers to one thing is singular.
A word that refers to more than one is plural.
Singular
Plural

scientists
scientist

goose
geese

they
she

What is subject-verb agreement?


Singular subjects

A verb should agree in number with its subject.


Singular subjects take singular verbs.
Singular Singular
Verb
Subject

Tabitha
Tabitha rides
ridesthe
the
thetrain.
train.
train.
rides
Singular Singular
Subject
Verb

He repairs
thebicycle.
bicycle.
He
repairs the

What is subject-verb agreement?


Plural subjects

Plural subjects take plural verbs.


Plural Plural
Subject Verb

The
ride the
the train.
train.
The girls
ride
girls ride
Plural
Subject

Plural
Verb

They
repair
thebicycle.
bicycle.
They repair
repair the
the
bicycle.

What is subject-verb agreement?


Plural subjects

In a verb phrase the first helping verb agrees


with the subject.
Singular
Singular
Verb
Phrase
Helping
Verb
Subject

is repairing the bicycle.


He is
Plural Plural
HelpingVerb
VerbPhrase
Subject

are repairing
repairing the bicycle.
They
They are

What is subject-verb agreement?


On Your Own
For each sentence, identify the subject, and then choose the
verb in parentheses that agrees with the subject.
1. The water (rushes, rush) down the river.
2. The bees (buzzes, buzz) around the picnic table.
3. The photograph (was, were) a gift from my cousin.
4. At the science fair the winner always (receives, receive) a
savings bond.
5. They (march, marches) in all the parades.
[End of Section]

How to fix problems in agreement


Phrases between subjects and verbs

Sometimes a phrase comes between the subject


and the verb.
Subject Verb

Phrase

Verb

of Coyote.
those folk tales is Coyote.
The hero is

The number of the subject is usually not changed


by a phrase following the subject.
Subject

Verb

The hero of those folk tales is Coyote.

How to fix problems in agreement


Phrases between subjects and verbs

Subject

Verb

bag of
onthe
theshelf.
shelf.
A bag
of marbles
marbles isison
Is agrees with bag, not marbles.
Subject

Verb

The peppers
peppersin
inthe
the garden
garden have
grownquickly.
quickly.
have grown
The helping verb have agrees
with peppers, not garden.

How to fix problems in agreement


Phrases between subjects and verbs

On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the correct form
of the verb in parentheses.
1. A tidal wave, despite its name, (is, are) not caused by the
tides.
2. Earthquakes beneath the sea (causes, cause) most tidal
waves.
3. Tidal waves in the open ocean generally (does, do) not
cause much interest.
4. The height of tidal waves there often (remains, remain)
low.
[End of Section]

How to fix problems in agreement


Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to a person or thing


whose exact identity is unknown.
Some indefinite pronouns are singular.
Some are plural.
Some may be either singular or plural,
depending on how they are used.

How to fix problems in agreement


Indefinite pronouns

The following indefinite pronouns are singular:


Singular indefinite pronouns
anybody

either

neither

one

anyone

everybody

nobody

somebody

anything

everyone

no one

someone

each

everything

nothing

something

Subject
Subject

Verb

Verb

Verb

Neither
of on
the
boys
is sale
in
my
Nothing
ever
goes
on
at class.
thiswell.
store.
Everyone
the
team
dribbles

How to fix problems in agreement


Indefinite pronouns

The following indefinite pronouns are plural:


Plural indefinite pronouns
both

few

Subject

many

Verb

Both of them wear glasses.


Subject

Verb

Few have traveled there.


Verb Subject

Are many of the tools sharp?

several

How to fix problems in agreement


Indefinite pronouns

The following indefinite pronouns may be singular


or plural, depending on how they are used:
Singular or plural indefinite pronouns

Subject

all

more

none

any

most

some

Verb

Most of the ice has melted.


Subject

Singular when they refer


to singular words

Verb

Most of the ice cubes have melted.

Plural when they


refer to plural words

How to fix problems in agreement


Indefinite pronouns

On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the correct form
of the verb in parentheses.
1. Most of the balloons (has, have) long strings.
2. Both of these shoes (gives, give) me blisters.
3. Someone on the soccer team (needs, need) a new
uniform.
4. Neither of the boys (was, were) wearing a helmet.
5. None of the house (has, have) been painted yet.
[End of Section]

How to fix problems in agreement


Compound subjects

A compound subject is two or more subjects


that are joined by a coordinating conjunction and
that have the same verb.
Subjects joined by and usually take plural verbs.
Red

and

Subject 1

Jana,

blue

are the schools colors.

Subject 2 Verb

Kurt,

Subject 1 Subject 2

and

Riley
Subject 3

enjoy skating.
Verb

How to fix problems in agreement


Compound subjects

Singular subjects joined by or or nor take a


singular verb.
Neither the bus

nor the

Singular

On Mondays, Manuel or
Singular

train stops in our town.


Singular

Verb

Gina

baby-sits.

Singular

Verb

How to fix problems in agreement


Compound subjects

Plural subjects joined by or or nor take a plural


verb.
Curtains

or artworks add color to a room.

Plural

Plural

Neither lemons nor


Plural

Verb

limes were sold there.


Plural

Verb

How to fix problems in agreement


Compound subjects

When a singular and a plural subject are joined


by or or nor, the verb agrees with the subject
that is closer to the verb.
Plural

Singular

Verb

Either flowers or a book usually makes a nice gift.


The verb makes agrees with the nearer subject, book.
Singular

Maria or her

Plural

Verb

parents prepare the lunches.

The verb prepare agrees with the nearer subject, parents.

How to fix problems in agreement


Compound subjects

On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the verb that
agrees with the compound subject.
1. Ants and spiders (has, have) invaded the backyard.
2. Mandy and her friends (is, are) going to the movies.
3. A statue or a fountain (looks, look) good in a park setting.
4. Neither maples nor elms (grows, grow) well in the valley.
5. Either potatoes or rice (is, are) served with the chicken.

[End of Section]

How to fix problems in agreement


Subjects after verbs

In some sentences the subject comes after the


verb.
Plural Subject

Here (is,are
are) the
the balloons.
balloons.

When the subject follows the verb . . .


1. Find the subject.
2. Make sure the verb agrees with it.

How to fix problems in agreement


Subjects after verbs

Subjects also appear after verbs in questions.


Plural Subject

Where (is,
are
are) the old magazines?
magazines?
1. Find the subject.
2. Make sure the verb agrees with it.

How to fix problems in agreement


Subjects after verbs

On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the correct form
of the verb in parentheses.
1. There (is, are) a new student in my brothers class.
2. (Was, Were) the fans cheering for the other team?
3. Where (has, have) Reggie hidden the gifts?
4. Here (stands, stand) the bravest heroes among us.
5. There (is, are) several correct answers to that question.

[End of Section]

How to fix agreement problems


Dont and doesnt

The contractions dont and doesnt should agree


with their subjects.
Dont is the contraction of do not. Use it with I and
you and with all plural subjects.
Singular

Plural

dont

we

dont

you

dont

you

dont

they

dont

Dont
You
I dont
dont
the puppies
want
know that
thelook
rules
coat.
cute?
yet.

How to fix agreement problems


Dont and doesnt

Doesnt is the contraction of does not. Use it with


all singular subjects except I and you.
Singular

dont

you

dont

he/she/it

doesnt

The
Doesnt
car He
doesnt
she
doesnt
bowlrun
on
know
well
a teen
you.
in the
league?
winter.

How to fix agreement problems


Dont and doesnt

On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the correct
contraction in parentheses.
1. I (dont, doesnt) have any math homework tonight.
2. (Dont, doesnt) you usually study with Julia?
3. That show (dont, doesnt) come on until 9:00.
4. My grandparents (dont, doesnt) live near us.
5. (Dont, Doesnt) Jerome play the guitar anymore?

[End of Section]

Review A
Choose the verb form in parentheses that agrees with the
subject.
1. Everyone in her family (prefers, prefer) to drink water.
2. Jamal and his parents (enjoys, enjoy) musicals.
3. There (is, are) three baby birds in the nest.
4. Neither the mower nor the weed-eater (works, work)
well.
5. Industries in the state (includes, include) farming and
mining.

Review B
For each of the following sentences, if the subject and verb
do not agree, write the correct form of the verb. If the verb
already agrees with the subject, write C.
1. This table and this chair were made by hand in Mexico.
2. Each of my brothers go to college out of state.
3. Mr. Chang and his class has painted a mural for the hall.
4. A tornado or a hurricane is a dangerous storm.
5. Here is the decorations for the dance.
[End of Section]

The End