Explain Subject Verb Agreement with Example

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial concept in English grammar that often trips up even experienced writers. In essence, it refers to the need for the verb in a sentence to match the subject in terms of number (singular or plural). Failure to follow basic subject-verb agreement rules can lead to confusing or awkward sentences that can negatively impact your writing and even undermine your credibility. Here is a breakdown of the subject-verb agreement with examples to help you get a better grasp of this essential concept.

First, let`s define what a subject and verb are in a sentence. The subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action of the sentence, while the verb is the action word that describes what the subject is doing. For example, in the sentence „She sings beautifully,“ the subject is „she,“ and the verb is „sings.“

Now, let`s examine the basic subject-verb agreement rules:

1. Singular subjects take singular verbs, while plural subjects take plural verbs.

For example:

– The dog barks loudly. (singular subject, singular verb)

– The dogs bark loudly. (plural subject, plural verb)

2. When the subject is separated from the verb by words or phrases, it is essential to match the verb with the subject, not the words in between.

For example:

– The book, along with the pen, is on the table. (singular subject, singular verb)

– The books, along with the pens, are on the table. (plural subject, plural verb)

3. Compound subjects joined by „and“ take a plural verb.

For example:

– Tom and Jerry are going to the party. (plural subject, plural verb)

4. Compound subjects joined by „or“ or „nor“ take a singular verb that agrees with the subject closest to the verb.

For example:

– Neither the cat nor the dog is happy. (singular subject, singular verb)

5. „Each,“ „every,“ „either,“ „neither,“ and „none“ take a singular verb.

For example:

– Every student knows the answer. (singular subject, singular verb)

6. Collective nouns (such as „team,“ „group,“ or „family“) take a singular verb when referring to the group as a whole and a plural verb when referring to its individual members.

For example:

– The team is playing well. (singular subject, singular verb)

– The team are arguing among themselves. (plural subject, plural verb)

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule of English grammar that can significantly improve the clarity and readability of your writing. By following the basic rules outlined above, you can avoid common mistakes and create sentences that are grammatically sound and easy to understand.