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Subject-Verb Agreement

Do I need an s at the end of the verb?

Or should I leave the s off?

agreement between subjects and verbs.

This presentation covers maintaining

A subject -verb a g r eement item on an objective test might look like this . . .

Sample Item
The foods that provide providegood goodnutrition nutritionis is are A B B often the least tasty; a hamburger and fries, on the other hand, satisfy satisfythe thetongue tonguebut but C clog the arteries.

A.provides B.are B.are C.satisfies D.No change is necessary.

Is needs to be disagreement the plural are, happen at which option B provide, is, or fixes. satisfy?


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.


I’m a

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 so . Not only the boss employees but also but her also their boss wish employees wishes the shift thewould shift would end. end. the wish shift would end.

If you flip the two subjects, You ’ll have two subjects, but so only that the employees closer one is —next in 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 eye an eye on on Sammy, Sammy, thethe sneaky sneaky cat. cat.



This sentence might sound right, but it is completely wrong!

Bewar e inver ted wor d or der.
Here is are the onions you need the chili. the onions you need forfor the chili. In In the the refrigerator are the jalapeño peppers you refrigerator is the is jalapeño the jalapeño peppers peppers you you might want to might want add. to add.

Here and there are never the

prepositional phrases to find the real subject!

Cross through

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 A A unclog the bathroom sink; I have have found found that that a a B plunger and a prayer often do do the the trick. trick. C A.are A.are B.has C.does D.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 B B that you’ll require once they both doze doze off off in in C boredom and start snoring. B.are B.are C.dozes D.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 moist cake cake cake and and and chocolate chocolate chocolate frosting. frosting. frosting. C C A.has C.loves C.loves D.No change is necessary.

Item 4
Not only those students but also their professor looks look look forward forward forward to to to the the the final final final exam; exam; exam; everyone everyone everyone has has has A A BB exciting vacation plans that start start next next Monday. Monday. C A.looks A.looks B.have C.starts D.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.tries A.tries B.hovers D.No change is necessary.

Item 6
Tyrone, as well as his cousins, hope hope that hopes that that Grandma Grandma Grandma A A 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.hopes A.hopes B.bring C.drips D.No change is necessary.

Item 7
Either the dogs or the cat sleep sleep on sleeps on on the the the bed bed bed while while while A A everyone is is out; out; Lorraine Lorraine always always finds findsan an B C indentation in the center of her comforter. A.sleeps A.sleeps B.are C.find D.No change is necessary.

Item 8
Meryl, together with her friends Beatrice and Laverne, plans a plans a daily 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 C C Theo scoop their servings with his muscular arms.

A.plan B.has C.are D.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 needsto to to finish finish finish aa a school school school project. project. project. C C B.are C.need C.need D.No change is necessary.

Item 10
Each fork, spoon, and knife are is scarred scarred from from the the A A disposal since Drew refuses refusesto tocheck checkthe thedrain drain B before he throws throwsthe theswitch. switch. C B.refuse C.throw D.No change is necessary.

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The End.