Making Subjects and Verbs Get Along

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13615

If the subject and verb of a sentence don't get along, the sentence isn't correct. Practice agreement between subjects and verbs to increase your grammar skills!

categories

Grammar, Writing

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Watch (and listen!) to this Subject Verb Agreement Song, from ICE-C, for an overview on this topic:

  • To which type of verb do you add an s?

You add an s to singular verbs.

  • Did you get that right?

There are exceptions (irregular verbs), but generally speaking, this is a good rule of thumb.

Subjects and Verbs

In order to make subjects and verb agree, you must understand what they are and how to determine their number and the tense of the verb. Read on for a refresher on subjects and verbs.

reminder

Reminder: What Is a Subject?

A subject is what a sentence is about or who (or what) is performing the action.

There can be just one subject in a sentence, or a sentence can have more than one subject resulting in a compound subject.

Examples:

  • My friend wants to run in a marathon.

Friend is the subject of the sentence. Friend tells who wants to run the marathon.

  • Cole and Lexie ate mashed potatoes for dinner.

Cole and Lexie both ate, so they are both the subjects of the sentence.

A subject often occurs at the beginning of a sentence, but does not have to.

Examples:

  • Out past the ocean was the sun.

Sun is the subject of this sentence. The sentence tells the reader where the sun was. It is important to remember that the first noun in a sentence does not have to be the subject.

  • Here is my history test from last week.

Test is the subject of this sentence.

Reminder: What Is a Verb?

A verb is a word that tells the reader the state of being of the subject.

Verbs tell the reader about an action or links the subject to another part of the sentence.

Examples:

  • The team carried the member off the field.

Carried is the verb. It tells what the team (which is the subject) did.

  • The answer was wrong.

Was is the verb because it tells us the state of being of the answer or because it links the subject (answer) to the fact that it was wrong.

What Is Tense Agreement?

Tense agreement is when a verb agrees with its subjects in person and number.

When a sentence uses a singular subject, it also must use a singular verb. Likewise, when a sentence uses a plural subject, it also must use a plural verb.

Remember, sometimes a noun may look plural but is not.

For example: The United States may appear to be plural since it ends in s, but we all know that there is only one United States.

When determining subject-verb agreement, make sure to take the time to fully understand what each subject and verb are truly talking about.

test yourself

Which Verb Is Correct?

  • Feeling refreshed?

refreshed

Now that you've brushed up on subjects and verbs, let's take a look at some agreement practice in the Got It? section.

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