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What is Subject-Verb Agreement?

Subject-verb agreement means that a subject and an action word should always match. Still confused? Continue reading to find a subject-verb agreement definition, a subject-verb agreement examples, and useful subject-verb agreement worksheets. The following rules of subject-verb agreement will assist you in avoiding errors related to subject verb agreement. 

What is a Subject-Verb Agreement Definition?

Here’s one subject-verb agreement definition: if the subject of a sentence is singular, then you need to use the singular form of an action word for your sentence. 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 of an action word. How does subject-verb agreement sound so far?

This rule sounds deceptively simple, but subject-verb agreement errors are fairly common. Sharpen your grammar skills and go through the useful  subject-verb agreement rules below.

Once you’re done studying subject-verb agreement and understand what is subject-verb agreement, go through the subject-verb agreement worksheets at the end of this guide and in this subject-verb agreement PDF document. The subject-verb agreement PDF document also has good subject-verb agreement examples).  After that, visit this informative link. It will help you to gain an insight into subject verb object. 

In other words, master the topic of subject-verb agreement with the help of the rules and subject verb-agreement worksheet below.

Basic Rules: What is Subject-Verb Agreement

Rule 1:   If there’s a singular subject,  you have to match it with a singular action or being word. 

Rule 2:  If the subject is plural,  you have to ensure there is a plural action or being word 

Let’s look at some subject-verb agreement examples describing the first two rules. These should be kept in mind when working on the subject-verb agreement worksheet. They’ll help give you a better understanding of subject verb object sentence structure:

  • Correct: He eats the apple pie.
  • Incorrect: He eat the apple pie.

This example follows a basic subject-verb-object sentence order. The subject is he, the action is to eat, and the object is apple pie. In the first sentence, both the subject and verb are in singular form, therefore it follows subject-verb agreement. However, the second sentence is incorrect as the singular subject he does not match 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 run. 

Runs is the singular form, while run is the plural form. Following are subject-verb agreement examples, showing how plural sentences work:

  • Correct: They eat the apple pie.
  • Incorrect: They eats the apple pie.

These subject-verb agreement practice sentences give you a feel for how the two subject-verb agreement rules are applied. The rules build the foundation of subject-verb agreement and can appear simple. However, even native English speakers sometimes get confused with subject-verb agreement rules. Therefore, understanding the rules is essential, and completing some subject-verb agreement practice (such as a subject verb-agreement worksheet) is useful.

The subject-verb agreement definition is better understood by examining subject-verb agreement rules. In addition, following these rules will guide you in selecting the correct verb form to match a subject, as well as help ensure that a subject-verb agreement error is not committed. Check your progress through the subject-verb agreement worksheets at the end of this guide. They’ll help you understand what is a subject-verb agreement.

What is Subject-Verb Agreement?:

Rules for Adding Words to Sentences

Rule 3: The words in between the subject and the action or being word do not affect the basic subject-verb agreement rules.

  • Correct: The wolf, who has six siblings, is ferocious.
  • Incorrect: The wolf, who has six siblings, are ferocious.

In subject-verb agreement, look to the subject to guide whether the agreement should be plural or singular. In the above examples, even though the words following the subject refer to something plural, because the initial subject is singular, every part of the sentence must also be singular.

Try these practice sentences. Choose the correct answer in the parentheses:

  • My sisters, as well as with my mother, (sing/sings) very well.
  • That cat, as well as all the other neighborhood cats, (loves/love) fish.
  • Joan, along with John, always (visits/visit) on Saturdays.

Did you remember the subject-verb agreement definition and the three subject-verb agreement rules stated so far? Did you apply them thoughtfully in the subject-verb agreement practice questions above? All of the answers were the first choice. If this practice was too easy for you, skip to the subject-verb agreement worksheet at the bottom of the page for a more challenging test.

Along with this guide on subject-verb, there are also Citation Machine guides about other topics. For example, there are citation guides on MLA format, APA format, and more styles.

Rule 4: Use a plural form if you connect multiple nouns or pronouns with the subject using the word ‘and.’

  • Correct: His dog and cat eat food from the same bowl.
  • Incorrect: His dog and cat eats food from the same bowl.

In the subject-verb agreement sentences shown above, the subject became plural since two different nouns were connected with the word ‘and.’ This made the subject become plural. 

Rule 5: As per subject-verb agreement rules, the opposite is true when you connect nouns or pronouns with words such as or or nor. The action or being word should match the form of the closest noun or pronoun. Here are a few subject-verb agreement examples:

  • Correct: Neither his dogs nor his cat shares the same food bowl.
  • Incorrect: Neither his dogs nor his cat share the same food bowl.
  • Correct: Neither his cat nor his dogs share the same food bowl.
  • Incorrect: Neither his cat nor his dogs shares the same food bowl.

Unlike with Rule 4, singular nouns remain singular even with the use of either/or/nor; so they require a singular verb. 

  • Correct: John or Paul is arriving by flight today evening. 
  • Incorrect: John or Paul are arriving by flight today evening.

Let’s practice our understanding of the subject-verb agreement definition through another example. Which sentence uses subject verb correctly?

  • Example 1: Neither his dog nor his cats share the same food bowl.
  • Example 2: Neither his dog nor his cats shares the same food bowl.

If you chose example 1, then you’re correct! The words cats is a plural noun, therefore share must also be in the plural form. 

Here are two subject-verb agreement practice sentences for you:

  1. Your son or daughter (walk/walks) very slowly.
  2. Your son and daughter (eat/eats) very slowly.

In the first sentence, walks is the answer. In the second sentence, eat is the answer. Did you get these subject-verb agreement examples correct?

Need a little more help with subject-verb agreement? Try out the subject-verb agreement practice worksheet at the end. Also, this grammar check will help you catch subject-verb agreement errors present in your paper.

What is Subject-Verb Agreement?:

Before and After the Word “Of”

Rule 6:  Sometimes in examples of subject-verb structure, 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 subject to avoid any subject-verb agreement error. Here are a couple subject verb examples:

  • 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 the subject-verb agreement examples, 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.

Rule 7: You’ll often find that the subject arrives after the word of,  which is usually the case while writing sentences that express quantity. Some example expressions of quantity include one-half, some, all, and seventy-five percent. 

Let’s look at the following subject-verb agreement examples: 

  • 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.

Test your understanding of subject-verb agreement by selecting the right words in the subject-verb agreement questions in the worksheets below. Remember, the most important rule in subject-verb agreement is that the noun after the word of should match the action or being word.

 

Additional Subject-Verb Agreement Rules:

When Actions Come First

Before you move on to  the first subject-verb agreement worksheet, let’s get a deeper understanding of what is subject-verb agreement by looking at another common subject-verb agreement error. 

The words here and there can bring chaos to standard sentence order and cause a subject-verb agreement error. To prevent this, ensure that you’re following the correct subject-verb agreement definition rules. Do this by checking that your action or being word matches the subject. 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.

Hopefully you can answer the question “what is subject-verb agreement” and are ready to jump into the subject-verb agreement worksheets below. The worksheets will give you good subject-verb agreement practice and will test how much you truly know.

Subject-Verb Agreement Worksheets

Are you looking for subject-verb agreement worksheets to better understand what is subject-verb agreement? Print this page as a PDF and use it to check your understanding on what is a subject-verb agreement and rules related to subject verb. Check your scores at the end of subject-verb agreement worksheets and refer to the subject-verb agreement PDF for guidance.  

Instructions: For every question in the subject-verb agreement worksheet, there are two choices. Select the one you think is correct. Use the subject-verb knowledge you gained from reading this guide and the subject-verb agreement practice sentences.

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 these subject-verb agreement worksheets? Double check your answers below and discuss them  with a teacher if you need more clarity about what is subject verb agreement. Afterwards, follow this link to get more info about what is subject-verb agreement and a subject-verb agreement definition. 

To keep subject-verb agreement errors at bay, use the subject-verb agreement worksheets above and try other subject-verb agreement practice questions. You can probably find a well-prepared subject-verb agreement PDF of good exercises online, or you could convert this page into a PDF. The perk of having a subject-verb agreement PDF is that you can print it and highlight any important points related to subject verb or even subject-verb-object order. 

Subject-verb agreement worksheet answers : 1A, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7A, 8B, 9A & 9B, 10A.

 


Published March 5, 2019. Updated April 23, 2020.

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