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This presentation is
brought to you by
Grammar Bytes!,
2016 by Robin L.
Simmons.
Subject-Verb Agreement

Do I need an Or should I
s at the end leave the s
of the verb? 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
Is needs to be
disagreement
the plural are,
A. provides happen at
which option B
provide, is, or
B. are fixes.
satisfy?
C. satisfies
D. 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 Ruths plate.

Because theres no s at
the end of sit, you
know its 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 Ruths plate.

Because there is an
s at the end of sit,
you know its 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 Ruths plate.

X X X X Im a
vegetarian!

X X
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
employees
wishes
boss wish the wish
the shift
shift thewould
wouldshift
end. would
end. end.

Youll flip two


If youhave the two
subjects,
subjects,but
so
only theemployees
that closer onein
is next
this
to
verb, boss
the case 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
personbillions of
people, in fact.
The word everyone,
however, is still
singular.
Bewar e inter r upting phr ases.

As well as Including
Along with In addition to
Together with Especially

keeps
The squirrel as well as the pigeons keep an
eyeeye
an on on
Sammy,
Sammy,thethe
sneaky
sneaky
cat.cat.

This sentence might


Bad
sound right, but it is
kitty!
completely wrong!
Bewar e inver ted wor d or der.

Here isarethethe onions


onions you
you need
need forfor
thethe chili.
chili. In In
the
the refrigerator
refrigerator are
is the
is thethe
jalapeojalapeo
jalapeo
pepperspeppers
peppers
you you you
might
want towant
might add.to add.

Here and Cross through


there are prepositional
never the phrases to find
subjects. 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
arethe
the
tools
tools
tools
that
that
that
you
you
youwill
will
will
need
need
needto
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. 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
arethe
the
earplugs
earplugs
earplugs
BB
that youll require once they both doze
doze off
off in
in
C
boredom and start snoring.

A. is
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
lovesmoist
moistcake
cake
cakeand
and
andchocolate
chocolate
chocolatefrosting.
frosting.
frosting.
CC

A. has
B. is
C. loves
loves
D. 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
everyonehas
has
has
AA BB
exciting vacation plans that start start next
next Monday.
Monday.
C

A. looks
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 hoverhover outside
outside like
like giant
giant predators
predators who
who are
are
B C
ready to strike.

A. tries
tries
B. hovers
C. is
D. 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. hopes
hopes
B. bring
C. drips
D. 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. sleeps
sleeps
B. are
C. find
D. 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
worthseeing
seeing
seeing
B CC
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
needstototofinish
finish
finishaaaschool
school
schoolproject.
project.
project.
CC

A. is
B. are
C. need
need
D. No change is necessary.
Item 10

Each fork, spoon, and knife are


is scarred
scarredfrom
fromthe
the
AA
disposal since Drew refuses
refusestotocheck
checkthe
thedrain
drain
B
before he throws
throwsthe
theswitch.
switch.
C

A. is
is
B. refuse
C. throw
D. No change is necessary.
Grammar Bytes!
provides additional
handouts and exercises on
subject-verb
agreement.
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The End.

Bad
kitty!