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Simmons.
Subject-Verb Agreement
Do I need an
s at the end
of the verb?
Or should I
leave the s
off?
This presentation
covers maintaining
agreement
between subjects
and verbs.
A subject-verb agreement
item on an objective test
might look like this ...
Sample Item
The foods that provide
provide good
goodnutrition
nutritionisare
is
A
BB
often the least tasty; a hamburger and fries,
on the other hand, satisfy
satisfy the
thetongue
tonguebut
but
C
clog the arteries.
Does
A.
B.
C.
D.
Is needs to be
disagreement
the plural are,
happen at
which option B
provide, is, or
fixes.
satisfy?
provides
are
satisfies
No change is necessary.
Agreement in a Nutshell
The elephant
trumpets for a peanut.
elephant = singular subject
trumpets = singular verb
The elephants
trumpet for peanuts.
elephants = plural subject
trumpet = plural verb
In the present
tense, singular
verbs end in the suffix
s; plural verbs do
not.
Two [or mor e] singular
nouns joined by and make a
plur al subject.
The chicken wing and pork rib sit
untouched on Ruth’s plate.
Because there’s no s at
the end of sit, you
know it’s a plural verb.
W hen each or ever y pr ecedes
two [or mor e] singular nouns
joined by and , you have a
singular subject.
Every chicken wing and pork rib sits
untouched on Ruth’s plate.
Because there is an
s at the end of sit,
you know it’s a
singular verb.
I n t h i s s i t u at i o n , n o m at t e r
how m any s i n g u l a r n o u n s yo u
join with and, the subject is
sti l l s i n g u l a r.
Every chicken wing, pork rib, slice of pepperoni pizza,
hotdog, hamburger, steak, and fried shrimp sits
untouched on Ruth’s plate.
X X
X
X X
X
I’m a
vegetarian!
Use caution with these three
c o n j u n c t i o n s : ei ther … or ,
nei ther … nor , a n d not onl y …
but al s o .
Not only the boss
employees
but also
buther
also their
boss wish
employees
wishes
the shift
thewould
shift
would
end. end.
the wish
shift
would
end.
You’ll
If youhave
flip two
the two
subjects,
subjects,
but
so
only
that
theemployees
closer one—in
is next
this
to
the case
verb, boss
then wish
— counts
will work!
!
T hese indefinite pr onouns
ar e always singular [even
w hen they seem plur al].





Each, either, neither
Anyone, anybody, anything
Everyone, everybody, everything
No one, nobody, nothing
Someone, somebody, something
Everyone on Earth =
more than one
person—billions of
people, in fact.
The word everyone,
however, is still
singular.
Bewar e inter r upting phr ases.
 As well as
 Along with
 Together with
 Including
 In addition to
 Especially
The squirrel as well as the pigeons keep
keeps
an
eyeeye
an
on on
Sammy,
Sammy,
thethe
sneaky
sneaky
cat.cat.
Bad
kitty!
This sentence might
sound right, but it is
completely wrong!
Bewar e inver ted wor d or der.
Here is
are
onions
you
need
chili.
thethe
onions
you
need
forfor
thethe
chili.
In In
the
the
refrigerator
are
the
jalapeño
peppers
you
refrigerator
is the
is
the
jalapeño
jalapeño
peppers
peppers
you you
might
want towant
might
add.to add.
Here and
there are
never the
subjects.
Cross through
prepositional
phrases to find
the real subject!
Quick Test
Directions: In the items that follow, choose
the option that corrects an error in the
underlined portion(s). If no error exists, choose
“No change is necessary.”
Show me
what you
know.
Item 1
In the cabinet is
is the
are
the
the
tools
tools
tools
that
that
that
you
you
you
will
will
will
need
need
need
to
toto
AA
unclog the bathroom sink; I have
have found
found that
that aa
B
plunger and a prayer often do
do the
the trick.
trick.
C
A.
B.
C.
D.
are
has
does
No change is necessary.
Item 2
Here are the books that Thomas and Darlene
A
need for their research, and here is
is the
are
the
the
earplugs
earplugs
earplugs
BB
that you’ll require once they both doze
doze off
off in
in
C
boredom and start snoring.
A.
B.
C.
D.
is
are
dozes
No change is necessary.
Item 3
Jasmine and Rodney have
have decided
decided to
to double
double the
the
A
number of cupcakes that they are baking since
B
everyone love
love moist
loves
moist
moistcake
cake
cakeand
and
andchocolate
chocolate
chocolatefrosting.
frosting.
frosting.
CC
A.
B.
C.
D.
has
is
loves
loves
No change is necessary.
Item 4
Not only those students but also their professor
looksforward
look
look
forward
forwardto
toto
the
the
thefinal
final
final
exam;
exam;
exam;
everyone
everyone
everyone
has
has
has
AA
BB
exciting vacation plans that start
start next
next Monday.
Monday.
C
A.
B.
C.
D.
looks
looks
have
starts
No change is necessary.
Item 5
At the pet store, each iguana, mouse, and gerbil
tries
try
try
to
toto
climb
climb
climb
the
the
the
walls
walls
walls
of
ofof
its
itsits
glass
glass
glass
cage
cage
cage
while
while
while
AA
humans hover
hover outside
outside like
like giant
giant predators
predators who
who are
are
B
C
ready to strike.
A.
B.
C.
D.
tries
tries
hovers
is
No change is necessary.
Item 6
Tyrone, as well as his cousins, hope
hope that
hopes
that
thatGrandma
Grandma
Grandma
AA
brings her
brings
herfamous
famousbrownies
browniesand
andpeach
peachpie
piethat
that
B
drip with
drip
with generous
generous scoops
scoops of
of vanilla
vanilla ice
ice cream.
cream.
C
A.
B.
C.
D.
hopes
hopes
bring
drips
No change is necessary.
Item 7
Either the dogs or the cat sleep
sleep on
sleeps
on
onthe
the
thebed
bed
bedwhile
while
while
AA
everyone is
is out;
out; Lorraine
Lorraine always
always finds
findsan
an
B
C
indentation in the center of her comforter.
A.
B.
C.
D.
sleeps
sleeps
are
find
No change is necessary.
Item 8
Meryl, together with her friends Beatrice and Laverne,
plans aa daily
plans
daily trip
trip for
for ice
ice cream,
cream, for
for these
these women
women
A
have discovered
have
discovered that
that the
the calories
calories is
is worth
are
worth
worth
seeing
seeing
seeing
B
CC
Theo scoop their servings with his muscular arms.
A.
B.
C.
D.
plan
has
are
No change is necessary.
Item 9
The scissors are sharp, so neither the cousins nor
A
Timmy is
is allowed
allowed to
to play
play with
with them,
them, even
even when
when the
the
B
boys need
needs
needstoto
tofinish
finish
finishaaaschool
school
schoolproject.
project.
project.
CC
A.
B.
C.
D.
is
are
need
need
No change is necessary.
Item 10
Each fork, spoon, and knife are
is scarred
scarredfrom
fromthe
the
AA
disposal since Drew refuses
refusesto
tocheck
checkthe
thedrain
drain
B
before he throws
throwsthe
theswitch.
switch.
C
A.
B.
C.
D.
is
is
refuse
throw
No change is necessary.
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Subject - Verb Agreement PPT