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How to Make Simple Subject and Verb Agree

Grammar Tutorial


Besides knowing how to make verb tenses agree, you also need to know how to make verbs and subjects agree. Subjects could be made up of simple words as well as compound words, which you will see in the following.

Simple Subjects:

The key to making subjects and verb agree is to look at the simple subject that is one word, either a noun or pronoun, the sentence is about, such as Gerry or birds. Then look at the verb. If the simple subject is singular, the verb must also be singular. How would you correct these sentences?

Gerry leap up the stairs.

The birds flies to warm climates.

In the first sentence the simple subject is Gerry is a singular noun. Leap is the plural form of the verb, so use the singular verb 'leaps' with the singular noun Gerry.

Gerry leaps up the stairs.

In the second sentence, the simple subject is birds, a plural noun. To correct this sentence, you must change the singular verb flies to the plural verb 'fly'. Another way to correct this sentence would be to change the plural noun birds to the singular noun bird.

The birds fly to warm climates.

The bird flies to warm climates.

To check whether you have correctly matched subjects and verbs in a sentence replace the subject noun with a subjective pronoun (I, you he, she, it, we, they). The subjective pronoun helps you see what is correct.

I/You/We/They swim in the pool.

He/She/It swims in the pool.

Adding an 's' or 'es' to a present tense verb makes it agree with the singular pronouns, he, she, it as well as with all singular nouns that replace them--Gerry, birds. However, when using linking verbs, confusion may occur.

Our best hope is our children.

Our best hope are our children.

If you are not sure, find the simple subject of the sentence--hope. Since hope is singular, it should be used with a singular verb form 'is'.

Our best hope is our children.



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