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What is Subject-Verb Agreement? Examples and Worksheets
Subject-verb agreement involves understanding that a subject and an action or linking word should always match. Not sure what this means exactly? Continue reading to find subject-verb agreement examples and to find helpful subject-verb agreement worksheets.
What is a Subject-Verb Agreement?
One subject-verb agreement definition states that if the subject of a sentence is singular, then you need to use the singular form of an action or being word for your sentence, too. Likewise, to avoid a subject-verb agreement error, if you use a plural subject in a sentence, you must match it with a plural form action or being word.
Although this rule sounds simple enough, there are many opportunities to make mistakes with your subject and verb if you’re not careful. Thus, here are some helpful subject-verb agreement rules which will help you avoid common English errors. Once you’re done studying these rules, find a subject-verb agreement PDF by viewing this informative link.
What is Subject-Verb Agreement? The Basic Rules:
First, if there’s a singular subject, then you match it with a singular action or being word. Second, if the subject is plural, then the action or being word should also be in the plural form.
Let’s look at some subject-verb agreement examples describing the first two rules:
- Correct: He eats the apple pie.
- Incorrect: He eat the apple pie.
This example follows basic subject, verb, object order. As you can tell, the subject is he. The action is to eat, and the object is apple pie. Both the subject and verb are in the singular form, and therefore follow subject-verb agreement. However, the second example is incorrect. That’s because the singular subject he does not match with the plural form eat.
Although it might seem a bit strange, the singular form of a regular action word adds an -s, whereas the plural form removes the -s. For instance, let’s talk about the forms of to run. Runs is the singular form, while run is the plural form. Here’s a new example showing how plural sentences work:
- Correct: They eat the apple pie.
- Incorrect: They eats the apple pie.
These first two rules build the foundation of subject-verb agreement. With that said, it’s easy to accidentally break these rules on occasion, even for native English speakers. That’s why you should add a few rules to our subject-verb agreement definition. This will help you always know whether you’re selecting the correct form to match with your subject.
What is Subject-Verb Agreement? Rules for Adding Words to Sentences
Third, the words in between the subject and the action or being word do not affect the basic agreement rules.
- Correct: The wolf, who has six siblings, is ferocious.
- Incorrect: The wolf, who has six siblings, are ferocious.
Even if the words following the subject reference something plural, when the initial subject is singular, every part of the sentence must also be singular.
Fourth, use a plural form if you connect multiple nouns or pronouns with the word and as your subject.
- Correct: His dog and cat eat food from the same bowl.
- Incorrect: His dog and cat eats food from the same bowl.
If you connect two different nouns or pronouns with the word and, the whole subject becomes plural.
Fifth, the opposite is true when you use a word such as or* or nor. Instead of using only a plural form, you match using the same form of the nearest noun or pronoun.
- Correct: Neither his dog nor his cat shares the same food bowl.
- Incorrect: Neither his dog nor his cat share the same food bowl.
The cat is a singular noun even when you reference more than one animal. Thus, the action (shares) or being word should also be singular. But what about when the noun is plural? Here’s a subject-verb agreement practice question. Which one is correct?
- Example #1: Neither his dogs nor his cats share the same food bowl.
- Example #2: Neither his dogs nor his cats shares the same food bowl.
If you said that example #1 is correct then you’re right. Because the word cats is a plural noun, to share must also be in the plural form. Need a little more help? This grammar check will help you catch any subject errors!
What is Subject-Verb Agreement? Before and After the Word “Of”
Fifth, sometimes you’ll find the subject before the word of. In this case, you need to double check that your action or being word agrees with the actual subject.
- Correct: An assorted box of chocolates contains all my favorite varieties.
- Incorrect: An assorted box of chocolates contain all my favorite varieties.
- Correct: Bundles of firewood make the longest-lasting campfires.
- Incorrect: Bundles of firewood makes the longest-lasting campfires.
In either of these sentences you can remove the noun phrase and the previously incorrect sentences would become correct. For example, the statement firewood makes the longest-lasting campfires is grammatically correct by itself. However, the previous example references bundles of firewood, which is plural, and therefore the verb must also be in the plural form.
Sixth, you’ll often find that your subject arrives after the word of. This is usually the case when writing sentences that express quantity. Some example expressions of quantity include one-half, some, all, and seventy-five percent.
- Correct: Some of my friends enjoy scary movies, but most do not.
- Incorrect: Some of my friends enjoys scary movies, but most do not.
- Correct: Most of this book is interesting.
- Incorrect: Most of this book are interesting.
Selecting the right matching words following percentages, fractions, and indefinite quantifiers requires subject-verb agreement practice. The most important rule to understand in these cases, is that the noun after the word of should match with the action or being word.
Some Additional Subject-Verb Agreement Rules—When Actions Come First
Before you move on to a subject-verb agreement worksheet, let’s look at another common subject-verb agreement error. The words hereand there bring chaos to standard sentence order. To be sure that you’re following the correct subject-verb agreement, review your action or being word with the subject to ensure they match. Here are some subject-verb agreement examples:
- There is not any Halloween candy left; you ate it all!
- Here are the baseball cards you lost yesterday.
A Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheet
Are you looking for subject-verb agreement worksheets? Print this section out and use it to determine your comprehension. When you’re done, go to the end of the page and check your answers.
Circle the grammatically correct sentence.
Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheet #1
1A. Jenny enjoys eating.
1B. Jenny enjoy eating.
2A. Bill and Tommy plays soccer together.
2B. Bill and Tommy play soccer together.
3A. That bag of grapes are a healthy snack.
3B. That bag of grapes is a healthy snack.
4A. Either my parrot or my turtle are sick.
4B. Either my parrot or my turtle is sick.
5A. Neither my pizza nor my burger is good as leftovers.
5B. Neither my pizza nor my burger are good as leftovers.
Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheet #2
6A. A whale and a shark swims right next to my boat.
6B. A whale and a shark swim right next to my boat.
7A. My lemonade, as well as my sandwich, is frozen.
7B. My lemonade, as well as my sandwich, are frozen.
8A. Twelves are the shoe size I wear.
8B. Twelves is the shoe size I wear.
9A. Most of my family is on vacation.
9B. Most of my family are on vacation.
10A. I wish my friend Alex were here.
10B. I wish my friend Alex was here.
How well did you do on these subject-verb agreement worksheets? Double check your answers below and then discuss the questions with a friend. Afterward, when you’re ready to move on, follow this link to get more info about subject agreement.
Correct answers: 1A, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7A, 8B, 9A & 9B, 10A.