Subject Verb Agreement in English

February 18, 2022 by  
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Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of the English language, and mastering it can improve your writing significantly. It refers to the need for the subject and verb in a sentence to agree in terms of the tense and number. When the subject and verb agree, the sentence becomes grammatically correct and easier to read and understand.

Here are some tips on how to ensure subject-verb agreement in your writing:

1. Identify the Subject: The subject is the person, place, or thing that the sentence is about. It is essential to identify the subject and understand whether it is singular or plural. For example, “the dog” is singular, while “the dogs” is plural.

2. Use a Singular Verb With a Singular Subject: When the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb that follows should also be singular. For example, “the dog runs” is correct, while “the dog run” is incorrect.

3. Use a Plural Verb With a Plural Subject: When the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb that follows should also be plural. For example, “the dogs run” is correct, while “the dogs runs” is incorrect.

4. Watch Out for Collective Nouns: Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things as one entity, such as “team,” “family,” or “jury.” When using collective nouns as subjects, consider whether you are referring to the group as a whole or as individuals. For example, “the team is playing well” refers to the team as a unit, while “the team are all wearing their uniforms” refers to the individuals on the team.

5. Pay Attention to Irregular Verbs: Some verbs have irregular spellings in different tenses. For example, “to be” becomes “am,” “is,” or “are” depending on the subject. It is essential to memorize these irregular verbs to ensure subject-verb agreement.

6. Remember Auxiliary Verbs: Auxiliary verbs are used to form different verb tenses, such as “have,” “do,” and “be.” They must also agree with the subject in terms of tense and number. For example, “I have eaten breakfast” is correct, while “I has eaten breakfast” is incorrect.

In summary, subject-verb agreement is vital in writing grammatically correct and effective sentences. By identifying the subject, using the correct verb form, paying attention to collective nouns, and memorizing irregular and auxiliary verbs, you can improve your writing and communicate more clearly with your audience.

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