Using Subject-Verb Agreement

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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
Don’t and doesn’t
Review A
Review B
What is subject-verb agreement?
Every sentence has a subject and a verb.
Subject Verb
The dog
dog runs.
runs.
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.
The girls
ride
thetrain.
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
on the
the shelf.
shelf.
A bag
of marbles
marbles isis on
Is agrees with bag, not marbles.
Subject
Verb
The peppers
inthe
the garden
garden have
grownquickly.
quickly.
peppers in
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 school’s 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 brother’s 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
Don’t and doesn’t
The contractions don’t and doesn’t should agree
with their subjects.
Don’t is the contraction of do not. Use it with I and
you and with all plural subjects.
Singular
Plural
I
don’t
we
don’t
you
don’t
you
don’t
they
don’t
Don’t
You
I don’t
don’t
the puppies
want
know that
the
look
rules
coat.
cute?
yet.
How to fix agreement problems
Don’t and doesn’t
Doesn’t is the contraction of does not. Use it with
all singular subjects except I and you.
Singular
I
don’t
you
don’t
he/she/it
doesn’t
The
Doesn’t
car He
doesn’t
she
doesn’t
bowlrun
on
know
well
a teen
you.
in the
league?
winter.
How to fix agreement problems
Don’t and doesn’t
On Your Own
For each of the following sentences, choose the correct
contraction in parentheses.
1. I (don’t, doesn’t) have any math homework tonight.
2. (Don’t, doesn’t) you usually study with Julia?
3. That show (don’t, doesn’t) come on until 9:00.
4. My grandparents (don’t, doesn’t) live near us.
5. (Don’t, Doesn’t) 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
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