How to Check for Subject/Verb Agreement | 123Read&Write

For one to write correct grammatically, when checking for subject and verb agreement,  you must remember that each must always agree in number. This article will show how to make sure your subjects and verbs agree.

Subject and Verb Agreement

Subjects and verbs must agree in number. There are two possibilities: they are either alone (singular); or, they are more than one (plural). Therefore, if the subject is singular, then the verb must also be singular. If the subject is plural, then its corresponding verb must also be plural. 

See below for a simple rule of thumb for noun and verb numbers.

Most nouns ending in s or es are plural, while most verbs ending in s are singular.

Singular example: Jenny coaches a youth softball team.

Subject: Jenny (singular)

Verb: coaches (singular)

Plural example: Her friends coach a youth baseball team.

Subject: friends (plural)

Verb: coach (plural)

Compound Subject and Verb Agreement

When dealing with subject and verb agreement regarding compound subjects (more than one subject), there are a couple of gramatical rules to keep in mind. 

  • If the conjunction and is used between the subjects, utilize a plural verb.

Joe and Jill carry their backpacks to school. 

  • If the words or or nor are used between the subjects, the verb must agree with the subject closest to it.

Either team members or Coach Smith carries the team bags. 

Subject and Verb Agreement with Tricky Linking Verbs

When a subject is made up of two elements joined by or or nor, the verb is singular if both elements are singular. If one of the elements is plural, the verb becomes plural. 

is = singular

are = plural

  • Shortbread or cake is on sale.
  • Chocolates or cake are on sale.

Subject and Verb Agreement with Contractions

More Subject and Verb Agreement Practice

Subject/Verb Agreement Practice Sheet 1

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