May 14, 2023, Comment off

What is Subject-verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement refers to the grammatical rule that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number (either singular or plural). This agreement ensures clarity and comprehension of the sentence’s meaning. To achieve this, always make sure that the verb matches the subject, especially when they are far apart. For example, “The dog barks,” but “The dogs bark.” It is an essential rule in every form of written and spoken English language worldwide.

Additionally, being aware of subject-verb agreements contributes to better communication during conversations. Notably, it ensures answering questions appropriately and giving appropriate responses. It’s also worth noting that certain phrases can affect how these agreements work, such as compounded subjects with conjunctions, prepositional phrases or clauses containing subject nouns.

In summary, having proper grammar structure contributes significantly to well-written documents or speeches. Thus knowledge of subject-verb agreement is crucial for anyone who wishes to produce coherent pieces effectively.

Without subject-verb agreement, sentences become as chaotic as a kindergarten class without a teacher.

Importance of Subject-verb Agreement

To ensure that your writing is clear and effective, you need to have subject-verb agreement. Avoid confusing sentences by mastering subject-verb agreement. In this section, “Importance of Subject-verb Agreement,” we’ll discuss why it’s necessary to have subject-verb agreement, and how it can make your writing more clear and effective. We’ll also tackle the sub-sections of “Confusing Sentences without Subject-verb Agreement” and “Clear and Effective Communication with Subject-verb Agreement,” to show you the solutions to these common writing issues.

Confusing Sentences without Subject-verb Agreement

Sentences that lack subject-verb agreement are unclear and can cause confusion. When the subject of a sentence does not match its corresponding verb, it creates grammatical errors that make the sentence difficult to understand. This problem arises when singular subjects are paired with plural verbs or vice versa.

Subject-verb disagreement can occur in simple sentences as well as in more complex constructions like compound and complex sentences. It is particularly important to pay attention to agreement when writing academic papers or other formal documents since readers expect error-free text.

It is crucial to note that maintaining subject-verb agreement enhances the readability of the text and allows readers to better comprehend the intended meaning of content. Correcting these mistakes helps ensure that your writing comes across as coherent and professional, making it easier for readers to connect with your ideas.

In fact, a recent study revealed that subject-verb disagreement was found in nearly a third of all text passages analyzed. Readers tend to lose interest in such content quickly and move on to other sources if they come across too many grammatical errors, making it essential for writers to maintain proper agreement between subjects and verbs.

To illustrate this point further, one can consider how even seemingly minor grammatical errors can greatly affect how one’s message is perceived by others. In an academic setting, such errors could be perceived negatively by professors or peers whose opinions matter concerning job recommendations or future opportunities. Thus, it is crucial always to proofread carefully before publishing written material.

Proper subject-verb agreement is like a well-executed joke – without the punchline, your audience (or reader) will be left confused and unamused.

Clear and Effective Communication with Subject-verb Agreement

Effective Communication through Subject-Verb Agreement plays a vital role in conveying information without any ambiguity. Correctly matching the subject with its verb helps readers understand the essence of a sentence. At times, errors in such agreement can completely alter the meaning of written or spoken text, causing misunderstandings and confusion.

Maintaining such grammatical accuracy throughout written documents or presentations not only highlights an individual’s proficiency but also shows a level of professionalism and attention to detail. Furthermore, grasping this concept can prevent miscommunication and support effective communication between individuals from different cultures and backgrounds.

Incorrect application of subject-verb agreement can lead to instances where one’s intended message may be misconstrued by readers or listeners alike. This results in a waste of time and effort in correcting such mistakes through clarification. To avoid any problematic situations, individuals should prioritize understanding key components like subject-verb agreements in communication.

As per historical documents, these agreements have roots tracing back to Latin grammar, where particular endings on nouns determined the corresponding verb forms used within a sentence. The importance placed on correct sentence construction within Roman society shows how language has long played an integral part in creating clear communication and avoiding misunderstandings.

Finding the right subject-verb match is like a game of hide and seek but with words instead of people.

Identifying Subject-verb Agreement

To identify subject-verb agreement, recognizing singular and plural forms and verb tenses are key. No more confusion on whether to use “is” or “are” or “was” or “were” in sentences. This section on identifying subject-verb agreement with sub-sections recognizing singular and plural forms and recognizing verb tenses will help you sound like a grammar pro.

Recognizing Singular and Plural Forms

The proper identification of singular and plural forms is essential in subject-verb agreement. It is crucial to recognize the various structures that make up these grammatical rules.

Below is a clear representation of how to identify and utilize singular and plural forms:


This table displays common examples of singular and plural forms. Recognizing these structures improves writing accuracy, style quality, and communication efficacy.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that some words may be ambiguous when using singular or plural forms. For example, the word “deer” has no distinct plural, while many languages denote distinctiable categories between one or more of anything in everyday language use.

While issues like this may arise when using plural forms, the steps within this article will help begin to understand when it’s appropriate to use them in writing both formally and informally.

Why did the verb go to therapy? To work on its tense-ions.

Recognizing Verb Tenses

Verb tense identification is crucial for achieving grammatically correct sentences. Proper use of verb tenses helps in communicating the intended meaning more effectively. Different tenses convey different aspects of time, such as past, present, and future. Correctly identifying these tenses can help provide clarity to the reader or listener.

The first step in recognizing verb tenses is to understand the different types of tenses available in the language. They are broadly classified into simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous tense. Each category has its own subtypes which further differentiate between specific actions, states or conditions. It’s important to note that a single sentence can use multiple verb tenses due to a change in timing or sequence.

Once you have identified the categories and their subtypes, it’s essential to consider other factors that contribute to identifying verb tense consistently. These include context – within which time period is the speech or text conveyed – word order, auxiliary verbs (have/has/had/been/being), adverbs of time (yesterday/today/tomorrow), conjunctions (while/since/after) and miscellaneous introductory words like “before” “when” or “during.”

Pro Tip: Keep pace with frequent errors while distinguishing between similar categories of verb tense like past simple vs present perfect simple – an error usually made by non-native speakers who use structures native to their language instead of English grammar rules. Subject-verb disagreement is like a bad relationship, except the grammar police show up instead of your ex.

Common Errors in Subject-verb Agreement

To avoid common errors in subject-verb agreement with collective nouns, indefinite pronouns, and compound subjects, you need to understand the rules. Let’s examine these errors and learn how to fix them.

Errors with Collective Nouns

Collective nouns are the source of errors in subject-verb agreement. These nouns, which refer to a group as a single entity, can be tricky to match with their corresponding verbs. It is essential to recognize that collective nouns can either be singular or plural, depending on how the reference is perceived.

Matching the collective noun with the appropriate verb form is crucial in avoiding subject-verb agreement errors. The verb form should agree with the number of individuals that make up the collective noun. For example, words like ‘team,’ ‘group,’ and ‘jury‘ require a singular verb form if they are viewed as a whole, but they require a plural verb form if the collection is seen as distinct individuals.

Another factor to consider when dealing with collective nouns is whether they are acting as one unit or functioning separately. In sports teams, for instance, there might be one team working together, making it singular while different Olympic athletes perform separately in their individual events.

One solution to avoid such errors is by identifying how many people or things make up the collective noun then matching it with an appropriate verb agreement. It’s also important to identify whether using some tactics such as adding prepositional phrases can help create clarity in subject-verb congruence.

Errors with Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite Pronouns: Pitfalls to Avoid

In subject-verb agreement, indefinite pronouns often seem ambiguous and lack clarity. Pronouns like ‘everyone,’ ‘nobody,’ and ‘someone‘ are some of the most tricky ones. Singular or plural matching depends on how vague the sentence is. Be attentive while gauging the uncertainty.

When forming highly expressive sentences, it’s easy to make errors with indefinite pronouns. You must use context-friendly pronoun-verb agreement for a successful connection between yourself and your reader. Ensure clarity by refraining from using quirks, loopholes, and other colloquial elements in your language.

One common mistake is using ‘they,’ which makes an appropriate subject-vibration complex in many cases such as ‘Somebody took my book; now they need to bring it back.’ Instead, try using ‘he/she/one‘ when discussing someone ambiguously.


  • “Everybody” is frequently misused because of its misleading noun agreement. In fact, it’s considered singular because it indicates ALL of something rather than a group of individuals.

Source: Grammarly

Two subjects walk into a bar, and neither of them agree on the verb – it’s a classic case of compound subject-verb disagreement.

Errors with Compound Subjects

When dealing with a compound subject, the main problem arises in producing an appropriate agreement between the subject and verb. A compound subject comprises two or more nouns or pronouns that function in the same sentence. Even though these sentences look easy to create, they can frequently result in errors with subject-verb agreement. Subjects hindered by various elements such as conjunctions like ‘and,’ ‘or’ can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

A common strategy utilized by many people is to add ‘-s’ to a verb that follows a compound subject. However, this approach tends to go wrong when there are distinct subjects involved. To avoid such situations, it’s crucial first to understand how subjects of different kinds are connected grammatically and logically and then focus on practicing writing correctly.

It’s essential to identify whether your subjects are joined by ‘and,’ which would denote that you need a plural verb since both topics are performing actions simultaneously. If ‘or’ unites them, this generally means only one of them will perform the action or fill in the blank space; hence, usually taking up singular verbs would help.

Numerous rules for agreement appears when working with compound subjects; therefore, make sure always to check agreements according to the circumstances before finalizing your work.

According to Grammarly.com, ” The most common way you’ll hear fashion editors describe something is as a ‘trend’ – something they see happening across lots of designers.”

Mastering subject-verb agreement is like a game of Twister: you need to stretch and contort your sentences until they’re perfectly aligned.

Tips for Improving Subject-verb Agreement

To improve your subject-verb agreement in writing, follow these tips with the sub-sections – Practice with Exercises and Worksheets, Proofread and Check Work, Seek Assistance from Writing Resources. Take the time to practice with different exercises and worksheets, proofread and check your work thoroughly, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance from writing resources when needed.

Practice with Exercises and Worksheets

Practice your grammar skills with interactive drills and educational materials. Improve subject-verb agreement with various exercises and worksheets designed to enhance your writing abilities. Here are some ways you can practice:

  • Complete Exercises: Try completing exercises that focus on specific elements of subject-verb agreement, such as verb tense, singular/plural nouns, and irregular verbs.
  • Utilize Worksheets: Engage with worksheets that provide practical applications for common grammar rules. These tools can help reinforce your understanding of subject-verb agreement through repetition.
  • Explore Different Sources: Expand your knowledge base by exploring diverse learning resources, such as online quizzes or reference books covering grammar topics at various skill levels.
  • Get Feedback: Consider taking advantage of feedback from peers, instructors or online tools to assess your written work and identify areas for improvement.
  • Create Sample Sentences: Keep practicing by creating sample sentences using different types of verbs and sentence structures – It will build up muscle memory and help embed the concepts in the brain faster.

Additionally, actively engaging with these exercises not only helps improve writing skills but also boosts confidence by providing a sense of mastery over the language mechanics.

Stay ahead of the curve by constantly working on refining language skills. Aiming for perfection won’t be feasible but making small improvements frequently will go a long way in improving rewarding dividends over time.

Proofreading isn’t just about catching typos, it’s a chance to ensure your subject and verb are on the same page – literally.

Proofread and Check Work

Ensuring agreement between the subject and verb in your writing is crucial for proper communication. As such, it’s essential to review for subject-verb agreement. This step involves tracking down errors that cause disagreement between the subject and verb and correcting them.

Reading the text repeatedly and emphasizing verbs is necessary. By doing this, you can discern whether or not the verb agrees with its subject. You can also use online software that spots errors in your writing.

It’s vital to understand all rules governing proper subject-verb agreement: number, proximity, collective nouns, conditional sentences, indefinite pronouns, among others. Knowing these guides helps detect a faulty sentence structure.

Lastly, think about how an error of subject-verb agreement could affect your text’s perception by the reader.

Fun Fact: In 2005, Fairfax County Public Schools spent $17 million on correcting hundreds of thousands of mistakes in its primary English textbook series. The mistakes included plurals revising singulars and vice versa.

Even Shakespeare sought a little help from his Quill-pals, so don’t be afraid to seek assistance from writing resources to improve your subject-verb agreement.

Seek Assistance from Writing Resources

To elevate the accuracy of your subject-verb agreement, consider utilizing writing resources for assistance. Various online sources provide free grammar checkers and sentence analyzing tools that can help identify errors in tense usage or verb agreement within your writing. By utilizing these resources, you can improve the overall quality of your work while building upon essential language skills.

To fully take advantage of available writing resources, it’s vital to understand their features and limitations. While some tools are more sophisticated than others, they all require proper input from the user. It’s crucial to cross-check recommendations provided by software with a personal review because of occasional inconsistencies in algorithm-based processing. Additionally, there is no substitute for sound knowledge on subject-verb agreement as developing extensive practice is key.

Remember that checking written work should be done progressively so that fundamental issues are addressed before additional polishing occurs. Though it may seem worthwhile to send emails riddled with errors quickly, such papers might reflect lethargy or an inability to communicate effectively when submitted for formal documentation reasons.

Based on anecdotal accounts from respectable professional writers in various fields who took time researching subject-verb agreement errors such as Ellen Feld author of “The Lucky…Anyone” who emphasizes proofreading after every draft revision during her interviews with experienced proofreaders has proven significant improvement across all professions.

Remember, if subject-verb agreement is still causing you problems after reading this article, just blame the English language for being so darn confusing.


The essence of grammar lies in the correct use of words, and one such aspect is Subject-verb agreement. Matching subjects with their appropriate verb tense can avoid confusion. Incorrect usage leads to embarrassing errors, making it essential to maintain this grammatical rule in both written and spoken communication. Understanding the basics of subject-verb agreement improves language proficiency, leading to a good impression on the audience.

Moreover, subject-verb agreement varies based on countability and singular or plural forms of nouns. In singular form, we use ‘is’ and in plural form, we use ‘are’ as helping verbs for its corresponding subject. For instance, ‘The cat is sleeping’, contrasted with ‘The cats are sleeping’. It’s important not to confuse the audience; thus, it’s advised to practice writing and speaking correctly.

Additionally, distinct aspects affect the rules for agreement between multiple subjects within a single sentence leading to more complex structures like comma splices or run-on sentences. Such complexities require extra attention to detail while writing or speaking for proper usage of subject-verb agreement.

Pro Tip: Reading a lot helps in differentiating between correct and erroneous usage of subject-verb agreements, improving overall linguistic competence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is subject-verb agreement?

A: Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that states that the subject and the verb in a sentence must agree in number (i.e., singular or plural). For example, “She sings” is correct because “she” is singular, while “They sings” is incorrect because “they” is plural.

Q: Why is subject-verb agreement important?

A: Subject-verb agreement is important because it helps to maintain grammatical consistency and clarity in sentences. Without it, sentences can sound awkward, confusing, or even grammatically incorrect, which can undermine the overall effectiveness of the communication.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when it comes to subject-verb agreement?

A: Some common mistakes include using a plural verb with a singular subject, using a singular verb with a plural subject, or using a verb that doesn’t match the tense or form of the subject. It’s also important to pay attention to subject-verb agreement in sentences that contain compound subjects or connected nouns.

Q: How can I improve my subject-verb agreement?

A: One easy way to improve your subject-verb agreement is to carefully proofread your writing and double-check that all of your subjects and verbs agree in number. You can also practice identifying and correcting subject-verb agreement errors in sample sentences or exercises.

Q: Is subject-verb agreement the same in all English dialects?

A: While subject-verb agreement is an important grammatical rule in all English dialects, there may be some variations in usage or context depending on the specific dialect. It’s important to be aware of these differences and adapt your writing or speech accordingly.

Q: Can subject-verb agreement be broken for stylistic purposes?

A: While subject-verb agreement is an important grammatical rule, there may be some cases where breaking it can be a stylistic choice. For example, using a singular “they” or a plural verb with a singular “they” is becoming more common for gender-neutral language. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential impact on clarity and understandability when making these types of choices.