Subject Verb Agreement | Grade 3 English Grammar | ORCHIDS
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Verbs

Concept: Singular Verbs with Singular Nouns

What is the meaning of Subject-Verb Agreement?

The basic rule is that singular verbs must agree with singular nouns. It means that in a sentence, the number of the subject should agree with the verb in number. They both either need to be singular or plural.

Have you ever thought about why we say “She loves chicken” and not “She love chicken”? It is because of this rule of subject-verb agreement that is followed.

Example:

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How Do You Identify a Singular or Plural Verb?

  • A singular verb has the letter ‘s’ added to it especially when written in the present tense. For example, loves, writes, runs, plays, etc.
  • Example:

    Sachin (singular noun) enjoys (singular verb) playing basketball every weekend.

  • A plural verb has no ‘s’ added to it. For example, love, write, run, and play. The auxiliaries like are, have, were, and do are used with the plural verbs.
  • Example:

    The group of girls(plural noun) enjoy(plural verb) playing tennis every Sunday.

Rules

  1. Indefinite pronouns are used with singular verbs. Words like neither, nor, anyone, anybody, somebody, someone, everybody, everyone, something, anything, everything.
  2. These words are considered singular words as they speak about each person.
  3. Examples:

    1. Everybody is responsible for their failure.
    2. The above could also be written as ‘Each person is responsible for their failure’.

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    3. Everyone is allowed to enter this space.
    4. Nobody is happy with the outcome.
  4. With uncountable nouns, use a singular verb. Words like sugar, grains, hair, stars, etc.
  5. Example:

    Some of the salt is on the floor.

  6. Titles of single entities are singular like organization, countries, books, etc.
  7. Example:

    The United States of America has a strong army.

  8. The expression ‘the number’ must follow a singular verb while the expression ‘a number’ must follow a plural verb.
  9. Example:

    The number of designers we need to recruit is huge.

  10. When two or more singular pronouns or nouns are joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’, use a singular verb only. It means only one person will be considered as the subject or object of the sentence.
  11. Example :

    The proposal requires final approval from the chairperson or the Managing Director.

Common Mistakes:

A subject/verb agreement error takes place when the subject and verb of a sentence don’t agree in number.

Follow:

Singular Subject and Singular Verb = Agreement

Plural Subject and Plural Verb = Agreement

If a subject is singular, its verb must also be singular.

Example:

The cat chases the mouse.

The cat chase the mouse.

The lions chase the deer.

The lions chases the deer.

Exceptions

The first-person pronoun ‘I’ follows a plural verb. ‘I’ is the first-person singular and therefore it uses the first-person verb form.

Examples:

I go.

I play.

I write.

I goes.

I plays.

I writes.

Look at the mind map to understand better.

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