SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT (PART 1)
In English, subjects and verbs have to agree. 🤝
Before we get into what that means, let’s start at the very beginning.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A SUBJECT?
The subject of a sentence is the person, place, or thing that is doing or being something. In other words, the subject is always a noun that is somehow involved in the action.
In the following examples, the subject is in bold italics:
The child’s favorite toy is broken.
Jo’s dog has been barking incessantly for hours.
The rain is falling like a steady stream.
My friends are running late.
The famous pop singers look silly.
Here are some singular nouns:
- doughnut 🍩
Here are some plural nouns:
- students 👨🏻🎓👩🏻🎓
- cheeseburgers 🍔🍔
- K-pop idols
WHAT EXACTLY IS A VERB?
A verb is a doing word.
A verb can express the following:
- A physical action (e.g., to run, to dance, to climb).
- A mental action (e.g., to think, to ponder, to remember).
- A state of being (e.g., to be, to exist, to appear).
The most common type of verb is to be.
Here is how to conjugate it:
For the purpose of this lesson, we won’t talk about verb tenses. Instead, we’ll focus on singular and plural forms. (After all, that’s what subject-verb agreement is about.)
Here are some verbs expressed in their singular forms:
Here are the same verbs expressed in their plural forms:
- dance 🕺🏻
AND NOW, THE AGREEMENT PART ...
All we have to do now is to pair up the singular nouns with singular verbs, and plural nouns with plural verbs.
- Her cat sleeps all day. (Singular “cat” with singular “sleeps.”)
- The singer writes his band’s tunes. (Singular “singer” with singular “writes.”)
- The chair is about the break. (Singular “chair” with singular “is.”)
- Students write many essays during the year. (Plural “students” with plural “write.”)
- Some pens are extremely expensive. (Plural “pens” with plural “are.”) 🖋
- Nan likes to watch animals eat. (Plural “animals” with plural “eat.”)
That was easy, right? (See how the singular “that” goes with singular “was”?) 👀
Our next article is going to show you some more complicated situations. (See how the singular “article” goes with singular “is”?) 👀
You’re starting to get it now, right?