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Subject-Verb Agreement. NEC FACET Center. Remember this rule,. The subject and verb should always agree. We ALWAYS agree. I’m Sally Subject. I’m Vernon Verb. And these 6 sub-rules!. 1. If a subject ends in an “s,” the verb will not.

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subject verb agreement

Subject-Verb Agreement

NEC FACET Center

remember this rule
Remember this rule,
  • The subject and verb should always agree

We ALWAYS agree

I’m Sally Subject.

I’m Vernon Verb.

and these 6 sub rules
And these 6 sub-rules!
  • 1. If a subject ends in an “s,” the verb will not.

If a subject does not end in an “s,” the verb will.

  • 2. Even when words come in between the subject and verb, they should

both agree.

  • 3. When joining two or more subjects with and, use a plural verb.
  • 4. When joining two or more subjects with neither/nor, either/or, or,

and nor, use a verb that agrees with the nearer or nearest subject.

  • 5. Collective nouns (a group of individuals or things) use either singular

or plural verbs depending upon the context.

  • 6. Even if a sentence is inverted, the subject should agree with the

verb.

definitions
Definitions
  • Subject-
    • The word/s that name the topic of the sentence
    • The word/s that the sentence is about
  • Verb-
    • The word that states the action or state of the subject
  • Subject-Verb Agreement-
    • The appropriate pairing of subject and verb based on whether the subject and verb are plural or singular and whether the person is first, second, or third.
how to check s v agreement
How to check S-V agreement
  • Identify the verb (action or state of being word)
  • Identify the subject (who or what the sentence is about)
  • Check whether the subject is plural or singular or special. Then check whether is it first, second, or third person.
  • Based on your findings about the subject, make sure the verb fits.
identifying the verb
Identifying the Verb
  • Ask which word shows action or relationship to the verb.
    • The dog jumps over the fence.
    • Stephanie and Bethany have names that rhyme.
    • Everybody came to JoAnn’s party.
    • Did you see the shirt she wore?
    • That house is so dilapidated.
conjugating a verb
Conjugating a verb
  • For present tense, generally add an –s or –es for third person singular. Otherwise, add nothing to the verb.
identifying the subject
Identifying the Subject
  • Ask who or what the sentence is about.
    • The dog jumps over the fence.
    • Stephanie and Bethany have names that rhyme.
    • Everybody came to JoAnn’s party.
    • Did you see the shirt she wore?
    • That house is so dilapidated.
rule 1
Rule # 1
  • 1. If a subject ends in an “s,” the verb will not.

If a subject does not end in an “s,” the verb will.

I’m Sally Subject, and I’m single.

Hi Sally. I’m Vernon Verb, and I am single.

If I’m single, Vernon Verb better be too.

rule 1 agreement
Rule #1: Agreement
  • Singular subjects need singular verbs.
    • Singular subjects include the following:
      • I, you, he, she, it, dog, house, etc.
    • I eat. You eat. She eats.
    • You have ears. She has ears. The dog has ears.
  • Plural subjects need plural verbs.
    • Plural subjects include the following:
      • We, they, dogs, houses, etc.
    • We eat. They eat. The dogs eat.
    • We have ears. They have ears. The houses do not have ears.
rule 1 practice singular and plural subjects
Rule #1Practice: Singular and Plural Subjects
  • My hair suffer/suffers from the terrible humidity.
  • Their hairstyles look/looks the same.
  • Jodi is/are my closest confidant.
  • The FACET Center is/are my favorite place to be.
  • Fast food employees smile/smiles when they see me coming.
rule 1 some exceptions special subjects words that end in s
Rule #1(some exceptions)Special Subjects: words that end in -s
  • Some words that end in –s are singular.
    • The news sometimes makes my head hurt.
    • Mathematics is my favorite subject.
  • Some words that end in –s are plural because they have more than one part.
    • The scissors cut through paper easily.
    • The pants are brand-spanking-new.
rule 1 some exceptions special subjects indefinite pronouns
Rule #1 (some exceptions)Special Subjects: indefinite pronouns
  • Indefinite pronouns do not refer to a specific person or item.
    • Ex. Everyone, anyone, each, either, everybody, someone, nothing, one, nobody, neither, anything
  • Always singular
    • Anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, none, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something
  • Always plural
    • Both, few, many, several
  • Sometimes singular, sometimes plural
    • Some, any, all, most
rule 2
Rule #2
  • 2. Even when words come in between the subject and verb, they should both agree.

Please don’t separate us!

But if you do, we’ll still agree.

rule 2 separated subject and verb
Rule #2Separated subject and verb
  • The subject and verb should always agree, no matter how many words are separating them!
    • Billy, the master carpenter, charges exorbitant prices.
      • Billy is the subject. “Charges” agrees with “Billy.”
    • Billy, along with all of his co-workers, charges exorbitant prices.
      • Billy is still the subject. “Charges” agrees with “Billy.”
    • Did you know that Billy, my best friend ever of all of my carpenter friends, doesn’t charge me at all?
      • Billy is still the subject. “Doesn’t” agrees with “Billy.”
rule 3
Rule #3
  • When joining two or more subjects with and, use a plural verb.

Hey Sally!

Meet my sister, Stephanie Subject.

rule 3 compound subjects
Rule #3Compound Subjects
  • A compound subject occurs when two or more subjects are grouped using a conjunction (such as and, nor, or).
  • Usually compound subjects are plural.
    • Tom and Sally eat food.
    • Neither the horse nor the mule want to graze on muggy days.
rule 3 compound subjects cont
Rule #3Compound Subjects Cont.
  • Compound subjects are singular when
    • they refer to the same idea/entity
      • My most stable friend and my only means to independence is my car.
        • *Friend and means to independence are both referring to the car.
      • NOT My most stable friend and my only means to independence are my car.
    • they are considered one unit
    • they are preceded by “each” or “every”
      • Each house, trailer, and apartment serves as someone’s home.
      • NOT Each house, trailer, and apartment serve as someone’s home.
rule 4
Rule #4
  • When joining two or more subjects with neither/nor, either/or, or,and nor, use a verb that agrees with the nearer or nearest subject.

No, Stephanie. Vernon and I agree. He’s closer to me.

But Vernon…

Either Sally or Stephanie will agree with Vernon, whoever’s closest.

rule 4 examples neither nor either or
Rule #4Examples: Neither, nor, either, or
  • Neither the counselor nor the parents know what to do with Billy Bob.
    • know agrees with parents, not counselor
  • The receptionist or the tutors try to help you.
    • Try agrees with tutors, not receptionist
  • Either the dogs or the cat defend the house when the humans are away.
    • Defend agrees with cat, not dog
rule 5
Rule #5
  • Collective nouns (a group of individuals or things) use either singular or plural verbs depending upon the context.
rule 5 special subjects collective nouns
Rule #5Special Subjects: collective nouns
  • Collective nouns refer to a group.
      • Ex. team, audience, staff, herd, class, majority
  • Generally, collective nouns are singular.
    • Ex. The team wins.
    • Ex. The class cheers when the teacher announces no homework.
  • Collective nouns may be plural when referring to its members as individuals.
    • The staff were complaining about the influx of paperwork.
    • *To clarify the sentence, you may add a modifier.
rule 6
Rule #6
  • Even if a sentence is inverted, the subject should agree with the verb.
rule 6 subjects after the verb
Rule #6Subjects after the verb
  • When the subject follows the verb, the two must still agree.
    • There is an incredible amount of food under my bed.
      • is agrees with amount
    • There are many food items under my bed.
      • are agrees with food items
    • Waiting on the Dr. Phil’s desk to be graded was a stack of papers ten feet high.
      • was agrees with stack
    • Waiting on Dr. Phil’s desk to be graded were papers stacked ten feet high.
      • were agrees with papers
practice
Practice!
  • The dogs howl/howls at night.
  • The desk stay/stays messy, despite how much we hope it will clean itself.
  • The students who always wear sunglasses in class smell/smells like sunscreen today.
  • Melissa and Joan love/loves watching Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.
  • The blank worksheets and the teacher’s edition remain/remains in my bag at all times.
more practice
More Practice!
  • Neither the math tutor nor the English tutors want/wants to play in the puddle today.
  • Either the English tutors or the math tutor play/plays hopscotch on the weekends.
  • The team win/wins every game.
  • The family speak/speaks in turn as each name is called.
  • “Open the door,” say/says Timmy every time he comes near an automatic door.
  • Off fly/flies the papers as the door swooshes open.
just remember sally and vernon always agree
Just remember, Sally and Vernon always agree.

Bye, Vernon!

See you later, Sally!

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