Subject-Verb Agreement
Singular with Singular
Plural with Plural
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A Reminder about Subjects
and Predicates
1. Subject - the person or thing that the
sentence is about - it can be a noun or pronoun
2. Predicate - the action in the sentence - it can
be a verb or verb phrase
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Sample Sentence:
"She walked the dog."
What is the subject?
Ask yourself, who is doing the action? That is the
subject. So in this case, "She" is the subject.
What is the predicate?
Ask yourself, what is happening, what is the action?
Walking the dog!
so the phrase "walked the dog" is the predicate
and "walked" is the verb
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Singular and Plural
Subjects
•Singular Subjects have only one person
or one thing
•Plural Subjects must have two or more
persons or two or more things
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Always pair singular subjects
with singular verbs
When you have only one person or thing doing
the action, the verb should be singular too.
Incorrect: Susan swim in the pool.
Correct: Susan swims in the pool.
So far, this is pretty straightforward, right?
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Always pair plural subjects
with plural verbs
When you have more than one person or thing doing
the action, the verb should be plural too.
Incorrect: Max and Sara walks to the park.
Correct: Max and Sara walk to the park.
Still pretty straightforward, right?
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Here's where it can get tricky!
Some nouns refer to a group containing more than
one person or thing. These are called collective
nouns. Examples are "the class" or "the family" or
"the team" -- since those words are singular, they
take singular verbs.
Incorrect: Everybody are here.
Correct: Everybody is here.
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The opposite can be tricky too!
Sometimes two or more nouns are used to refer to
a single thing.
Incorrect: Peanut butter and jelly are my
favorite sandwich.
Correct: Peanut butter and jelly is my
favorite sandwich.
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When Words Get in the Way
• Sometimes a subject is singular, but words
modifying it are plural.
•When those words come between the subject and
verb, it's easy to use a plural verb by mistake.
Incorrect: One of the 6th grade students who
brought their permission slips are absent.
Correct: One of the 6th grade students who
brought their permission slips is absent.
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The end.
More free WRITING MECHANICS resources:
parts of speech
capitalization
punctuation
homophones, homonyms,homographs
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Eight-week WRITING MECHANICS courses:
elementary school
middle school
high school
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