ENG 102 Handout Instructor: Mithila Mahfuz

(I) Subject !erb "#ree$ent In general, subjects and verbs must agree in number. This means that a singular subject must have a singular verb, and a plural subject must have a plural verb. Additionally, subjects and verbs must agree in person (first, second, or third). See the table below to understand this general idea. Subject / Verb Agreement: Singular Subjects Subject / Verb Agreement: Plural Subjects I wor you wor she, he, it wor s we wor you wor they wor

!hen you"re dealing with a simple subject li e those in the table above, ma ing the subjects and verbs agree is straightforward. Some subjects, however, are not so simple. The following guidelines will help you deal with these comple# subjects and ma e them agree with verbs. $lease note% in each e#ample, the subject is italicized and the verb is underlined. !hen the subject of a sentence is two or more nouns or pronouns (either singular or plural) connected by and, use a plural verb.
• •

The table and couch loo li e they need wor . Jamie and her friends drive all the time.

!hen the subject of a sentence is two or more singular nouns or pronouns connected or or nor, use a singular verb.
• •

Sheila or Jenny will water my plants. Neither the Ford nor the Pontiac is the car I want.

The verb should agree with the noun that is closer to the verb when the subject has both a singular noun or pronoun and a plural noun or pronoun connected by or or nor.
• •

The kitchen or the bedrooms need to be cleaned. The bedrooms or the kitchen needs to be cleaned.

The following words are all singular and therefore re&uire singular verbs% each, each one, either, neither, everyone, everybody, anybody, anyone, nobody, somebody, someone, and no one.


arefully identifying the subject of the sentence will help you avoid this confusion. The boo or the pen is in the drawer. The boy or his friends run every day. band..• • • Each of these sweaters is blac . !hen a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun joined by or or nor. class. team. they re&uire a singular verb. These are nown as collective nouns. you use are' if the subject is singular. use a plural verb. Everybody thin s they can sing really well. . • • The committee meets tomorrow. • • There are two coo ies left. • • One of the dogs runs really slowly. (#amples include group. pay attention to what follows there are or there is. This element is what determines whether you use are or is. . !hen two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by or or nor. 2 . %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%% -. There is one chance to ma e a first impression. She and her friends are at the fair. the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the verb. and family. Some subjects imply more than one person. The eo le who bring ca e are always popular. committee. but are themselves singular. )e careful not to be misled by phrases that come between the subject and verb. )ecause these words are singular. *y family is a little cra+y. use a singular verb. not with the noun(s) or pronoun(s) in the phrase. Nobody nows what happened to all the ca e. /. 0is friends or the boy runs every day. !hen the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns connected by and. you use is. If the subject is plural. Always remember that the verb should agree with the subject of the sentence. In sentences that begin with there are or there is.

9ouns such as civics.1. =. They don3t li e it. (ither is correct. (verybody nows *r. is boring. The boo . 9ote% the word dollars is a special case. :ive dollars is a lot of money. trousers. There is a &uestion. !hen tal ing about an amount of money. !ith these pronouns. everybody. the verb agrees with what follows. The team captain. anybody. each one. 2oesn3t is a contraction of does not and should be used only with a singular subject. 0e doesn3t li e it. 2ollars are often used instead of rubles in . the subject follows the verb. The news is on at si#. 2o not be misled by a phrase that comes between the subject and the verb. anyone. In sentences beginning with there is or there are. everyone. The verb agrees with the subject. and no one are singular and re&uire a singular verb. measles. The e#ception to this rule appears in the case of the first person and second person pronouns I and you. 9ouns such as scissors. 4. 7ones. a plural verb is re&uired. <. 3 . 8. but when referring to the dollars themselves. someone. neither. (ach of these hot dogs is juicy. and news re&uire singular verbs. twee+ers. somebody.ussia. and shears re&uire plural verbs. is an#ious. 6. not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase. it re&uires a singular verb. dollars. Since there is not the subject. (There are two parts to these things. 5ne of the bo#es is open The people who listen to that music are few. the contraction don3t should be used. Those trousers are made of wool. either. The woman with all the dogs wal s down my street.) These scissors are dull. The words each. including all the chapters in the first section. There are many &uestions. mathematics. 2on3t is a contraction of do not and should be used only with a plural subject. nobody. as well as his players.

>. (ta e. The movie. ->.. together with. This sentence is referring to the individual efforts of each crew member. 1. /. The $resident. are) Andrea3s favorite subject. . The players. The man with all the birds (live. in addition to. *y family has never been able to agree. In some cases in American (nglish. The committee decides how to proceed. -1. (#pressions such as with. <. are) always on the floor. a sentence may call for the use of a plural verb when using a collective noun. -/. are) at the cleaner3s. lives) on my street. The dog or the cats (is. -=. (ither my mother or my father (is. wants) to win. and family. The committee (debates. are) acceptable. including.ivics (is. 8. 5ne of my sisters (is. while . -8. including yours. are) coming to the meeting. are) 7ohn3s favorite subject. =. (Is.->. team. class. committee. were) fifteen candies in that bag. don3t) now the answer. debate) these &uestions carefully. . Annie and her brothers (is. If the subject is singular. @eorge and Tamara (doesn3t. Are) the twee+ers in this drawerA -<. are) only one leftC . accompanied by. -6. the verb is too.ollective nouns are words that imply more than one person but that are considered singular and ta e a singular verb. Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise . 4. -. 9ow there (is. nows) the trouble I3ve seen. All of the boo s. such as% group.. 9obody ( now. )enito (doesn3t. ta es) about two hours to watch. --. are) the price of a movie these days. including all the previews. are) outside. don3t) want to see that movie. The team runs during practice. (want. The !re"" #eference $anual provides e#cellent e#planations of subject?verb agreement (section ->% ->>-). There (was. accompanied by his wife. (ight dollars (is. --. is traveling to India. are) at school. -. *athematics (is. Are) the news on at five or si#A -4. The crew are preparing to doc the ship. (Is. (very one of those boo s (is. are) going on a trip to :rance. 6. (ither my shoes or your coat (is. The family has a long history.hoose the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject. 4 . as well as the captain. are in that bo#. Bour pants (is. (ither answer (is. or as well do not change the number of the subject. are) fiction.

Bou can have fantastic ideas.-. then perhaps elaborating on each of them and placing them in their own paragraphs is the route to go. greet) the press cordially.. it belongs in a new paragraph.2s./. . even the scratched one. The committee (leads. If the single points start to get long. a paragraph should contain each of the following% &nit'( )$herence( A T$pic Sentence( and A#e*uate +e. Bou can also have several points in a single paragraph as long as they relate to the overall topic of the paragraph. Coherence . Bou can help create coherence in your paragraphs by creating logical bridges and verbal bridges.el$pment. Esing and adapting them to your individual purposes will help you construct effective paragraphs. There are some simple ways to tell if you are on the same topic or a new one.oherence is the trait that ma es the paragraph easily understandable to a reader. you will lose your readers (and fail to achieve your goals in writing). Elements $% a Paragraph To be as effective as possible. (is. all of these traits overlap. If you begin to transition into a new idea.. it should not end with another or wander within different ideas. The prime minister. If it begins with a one focus or major point of discussion.As you will see. (II) On Paragraphs What is a paragraph? A paragraph is a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic. Unity The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. Dearning to write good paragraphs will help you as a writer stay on trac during your drafting and revision stages. The Basic Rule: eep !ne "#ea t$ !ne Paragraph The basic rule of thumb with paragraphing is to eep one idea to one paragraph. are) in this case. Logical bridges • The same idea of a topic is carried over from sentence to sentence • Successive sentences can be constructed in parallel form 5 . @ood paragraphing also greatly assists your readers in following a piece of writing. Bou can have one idea and several bits of supporting evidence within a single paragraph. but if those ideas aren3t presented in an organi+ed fashion. All of the . (greets. .. lead) very different lives in private. together with his wife.

(This is a good general rule for less e#perienced writers. Adequate development The topic (which is introduced by the topic sentence) should be discussed fully and ade&uately. you should be able to easily summari+e what the paragraph is about. Although not all paragraphs have clear?cut topic sentences. depending on the author3s purpose. or somewhere in the middle). It3s a pretty good bet that the paragraph is not fully developed if it is that short. and despite the fact that topic sentences can occur anywhere in the paragraph (as the first sentence. but writers should beware of paragraphs that only have two or three sentences. S$me meth$#s t$ ma.ffer a chronolo)y of an event #time se)ments% 0$/ #$ " . the last sentence. this varies from paragraph to paragraph. Again.egardless of whether you include an e#plicit topic sentence or not.Verbal bridges • Key words can be repeated in several sentences • Synonymous words can be repeated in several sentences • • Pronouns can refer to nouns in previous sentences Transition words can be used to link ideas from different sentences A topic sentence A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with. .el$pe#: • • • • • • • • • • • se e!amples and illustrations "ite data #facts$ statistics$ evidence$ details$ and others% &!amine testimony #what other people say such as 'uotes and paraphrases% se an anecdote or story (efine terms in the para)raph "ompare and contrast &valuate causes and reasons &!amine effects and conse'uences *naly+e the topic (escribe the topic .e sure '$ur paragraph is /ell-#e. an easy way to ma e sure your reader understands the topic of the paragraph is to put your topic sentence near the beginning of the paragraph.n$/ /hen t$ start a ne/ paragraph? - . although it is not the only way to do it).

Bou should start a new paragraph when% • • • &hen 'ou be#in a ne( idea or )oint* . you3ll be able to brea these FrulesF to meet your own needs.ontributors:(ana 7ynn (riscoll$ *llen 1ri+ee/ Su$$ar': The purpose of this handout is to give some basic instruction and advice regarding the creation of understandable and coherent paragraphs. Entil then. Transitions can be used at the end of most paragraphs to help the paragraphs flow one into the ne#t. . Signposts are internal aids to assist readers' they usually consist of several sentences or a paragraph outlining what the article has covered and where the article will be going.ew ideas should always start in new para)raphs/ 0f you have an e!tended idea that spans multiple para)raphs$ each new point within that idea should have its own para)raph/ +o contrast infor$ation or ideas* Separate para)raphs can serve to contrast sides in a debate$ different points in an ar)ument$ or any other difference/ &hen 'our readers need a )ause* 1reaks in para)raphs function as a short 2break2 for your readers3addin) these in will help your writin) more readable/ 4ou would create a break if the para)raph becomes too lon) or the material is comple!/ &hen 'ou are endin# 'our introduction or startin# 'our conclusion* 4our introductory and concludin) material should always be in a new para)raph/ 5any introductions and conclusions have multiple para)raphs dependin) on their content$ len)th$ and the writer6s purpose/ • Transiti$ns an# Signp$sts Two very important elements of paragraphing are signposts and transitions. Disted here are some rules of thumb to use when paragraphing. these suggestions can be helpful% • • • • Put only one main idea per para)raph/ *im for three to five or more sentences per para)raph/ 0nclude on each pa)e about two handwritten or three typed para)raphs/ 5ake your para)raphs proportional to your paper/ Since para)raphs do less work in short papers$ have short para)raphs for short papers and lon)er para)raphs for lon)er papers/ 8 . Transitions are usually one or several sentences that FtransitionF from one idea to the ne#t. Paragraphing (Length Consistency) $aragraphs are units of thought with one idea developed ade&uately. As your writing improves.

• 0f you have a few very short para)raphs$ think about whether they are really parts of a lar)er para)raph3and can be combined3or whether you can add details to support each point and thus make each into a more fully developed para)raph/ Bou can chec on whether your paragraphs are balanced by loo ing at your paper.aption% $aragraph )alance Unbalanced pages with ideas not equally developed: 9 . Some balanced pages: Image .

aption% Enbalanced $aragraphs &se the %$ll$/ing graphics as a t$$l t$ $rgani1e '$ur paper /ith $ne main i#ea in each b$x&se as man' pages an# b$xes as nee#e#- Image . your paragraphs" main ideas and topic sentences.aption% @raphics to 0elp with )alance and 5rgani+ation The t$pic sentence( /hich is t'picall' near the beginning $% '$ur paragraph( ser.es as the thesis statement %$r the paragraph.Asi#e %r$m a clear t$pic sentence( /hat else can '$u put in each b$#' paragraph? The ans/er: sentences that pr$.i#e supp$rting #etails %$r '$ur paragraph2s main i#eaThe diagram below illustrates the relationship between your essay"s main idea and thesis statement. and the supporting details you provide in each paragraph. : .Image .

. what are some details that would add development and supportA Some ideas are listed below. finding sample resumes. Topic Sentence for )ody $aragraph /% The final step I plan to ta e to get a better job is to search for jobs..% 9e#t.H Topic Sentence for )ody $aragraph -% The first step I will ta e to getting a better job is to finish school. . :or each subpoint. getting someone to loo at it going to the community job center' loo ing online for jobs I"m &ualified for' tal ing to friends and advisors about opportunities' ma ing a list of possible job leads 1. drafting a resume. Topic Sentence for )ody $aragraph . 3ain "#ea $% B$#' Supp$rting +etails Paragraph :inish School $reparing a . I will wor toward getting a better job by preparing a resume.onsider the three e#ample topic sentences from Desson . These three topic sentences represent the three subpoints our e#ample writer has chosen to support her main idea of Ggetting a better job.esume Searching for 7obs getting a course list from the community college' figuring out what classes I want to ta e' meeting with an advisor' signing up for classes listing my s ills and e#perience.

verall$ 5ana)ement Systems 0nternational has lo))ed increased sales in every sector$ leadin) to a si)nificant rise in third='uarter profits/ *nother important thin) to note is that the corporation had e!panded its international influence/ .ice %r$m an a#. writers can develop important points for their readers. transitions can help readers understand how paragraphs wor together. it only ta es a few words to draw these connections. and build to a larger point.ice ab$ut /hat c$urses " /$ul# nee# t$ get m' #egree.e t$ getting a better j$b is t$ %inish sch$$l.e.is$r( " can sign up %$r the classes " nee# an# /ant t$ ta. 4ears @ar/ 11 .Then( " can meet /ith an aca#emic a#.e-4 %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% %%%%%%%% (III) Writing Transitions @ood transitions can connect paragraphs and turn disconnected writing into a unified whole. )y referencing in one paragraph the relevant material from previous ones. E-a$)le< . ab$ut /hat s$un#s interesting an# /$ul# be help%ul t$ me( " can #eci#e /hich $nes " /ant t$ ta.) $ic ing up ey phrases from the previous paragraph and highlighting them in the ne#t can create an obvious progression for readers.The paragraph below is an e#ample body paragraph about finishing school. Instead of writing transitions that could connect any paragraph to any other paragraph.A%ter " %igure $ut /hat classes t$ ta.e/ision< >earin) for the loss of more (anish lands$ "hristian 0? si)ned the Treaty of 7ubeck$ effectively endin) the (anish phase of the 3. Instead of treating paragraphs as separate ideas. reference one another.is$r t$ get a#.verall$ 5ana)ement Systems 0nternational has lo))ed increased sales in every sector$ leadin) to a si)nificant rise in third='uarter profits/ These impressive profits are lar)ely due to the corporation6s e!panded international influence/ E-a$)le< >earin) for the loss of (anish lands$ "hristian 0? si)ned the Treaty of 7ubeck$ effectively endin) the (anish phase of the 3. *any times.e an# get a#. It is a good idea to continue one paragraph where another leaves off. 4ears @ar/ 1ut then somethin) else si)nificant happened/ The Swedish intervention be)an/ . The ey to producing good transitions is highlighting connections between corresponding paragraphs. write a transition that could only connect one specific paragraph to another specific paragraph." can get a c$urse catal$gue %r$m the c$mmunit' c$llege an# stu#' it t$ see /hat classes s$un# interestingA%ter " thin. (Instances where this is especially challenging may suggest that the paragraphs don3t belong together at all.e/ision< . 4The %irst step " /ill ta.

balanced against. although this may be true 12 . Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another. ne#t. where. again. while others ma e readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts. and then. transitional devices lin sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or brea s between ideas. after all. And finally. There are several types of transitional devices. on the contrary. lastly. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought. in addition. or from one paragraph to another. up against. e&ually important. Transitional Devices Transitional devices are li e bridges between parts of your paper. but.) To Compare: whereas. and each category leads readers to ma e certain connections or assumptions. by comparison. on the other hand. conversely. although. 0ere is a list of some common transitional devices that can be used to cue readers in a given way. furthermore.Shortly after (anish forces withdrew$ the Swedish intervention be)an/ E-a$)le< *my Tan became a famous author after her novel$ The Joy Luck Club$ skyrocketed up the bestseller list/ There are other thin)s to note about Tan as well/ *my Tan also participates in the satirical )ara)e band the Aock 1ottom Aemainders with Stephen Kin) and (ave 1arry/ . They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas a paper develops. meanwhile. besides. too. however. what3s more. from one idea to another. yet. nor. To Add: and. in contrast. but. moreover.e/ision< *my Tan became a famous author after her novel$ The Joy Luck Club$ skyrocketed up the bestseller list/ Thou)h her fiction is well known$ her work with the satirical )ara)e band the Aock 1ottom Aemainders receives far less publicity/ . vis a vis. finally. nevertheless. compared to. etc.ontributors:Ayan @eber$ Karl Stolley/ Su$$ar': A discussion of transition strategies and specific transitional devices. further. first (second.

and then. thus. for the same reason. then. as has been noted To mphasi#e: definitely. to demonstrate. and so forth. A. conse&uently 13 . on this occasion.. certainly. in another case.To Prove: because. as an illustration. in spite of. indeed. and so forth. always. after. formerly. after a few hours. previously. soon To $ive an !ample: for e#ample. e#tremely. as I have said. for. at this point. etc. in fact. before this. once in a while. as a result. emphatically. in any case. soon. in addition. forever. to illustrate. besides. obviously. as I have said. indeed. summing up. of course. therefore. moreover. to conclude. . finally. concurrently. eternally. ne#t. without a doubt. since. therefore. conse&uently. as I have shown. hence. never. sometimes To Show Time: immediately. second. accordingly.). previously. however. absolutely. despite. first (second. in conclusion. perennially. ). in this case. third. naturally. as I have noted. that is To Show !ception: yet. and then To "epeat: in brief. now. furthermore. obviously. simultaneously. following this. in any case. undeniably. afterward. surprisingly. without reservation To Show Sequence: first. to illustrate To Summari#e or Conclude: in brief. still. ne#t. in fact. hence. finally. evidently. on the whole. in this situation. thereafter. later. then. un&uestionably. nevertheless. for instance. subse&uently. thus. ta e the case of. ne#t. at this time. positively.

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