Verb Agreement Lesson

Verb Agreement Lesson: A Guide to Writing with Correct Grammar

As a writer, it is important to have good grammatical skills. One of the most fundamental aspects of grammar is verb agreement. Verbs are words that express actions, states, or occurrences, and they must agree with their subjects in person (first, second, or third) and number (singular or plural). Incorrect verb agreement can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, so it is crucial to master this basic grammar rule.

Here is a guide to help you understand verb agreement and use it correctly in your writing:

1. Singular Subject, Singular Verb

When the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb must also be singular. For example:

– The cat sleeps on the sofa. (Subject: cat, verb: sleeps)

– She sings beautifully. (Subject: she, verb: sings)

2. Plural Subject, Plural Verb

When the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb must also be plural. For example:

– The cats sleep on the sofa. (Subject: cats, verb: sleep)

– They sing beautifully. (Subject: they, verb: sing)

3. Compound Subjects

When a sentence has two or more subjects joined by “and,” the verb should be plural. For example:

– John and Mary are going to the party. (Subjects: John and Mary, verb: are)

– My sister and I enjoy hiking. (Subjects: sister and I, verb: enjoy)

4. Collective Nouns

Some nouns refer to groups of people or things, such as “team,” “family,” or “government.” When these collective nouns are used as the subject of a sentence, the verb can be either singular or plural, depending on the context. For example:

– The team is playing well this season. (Singular verb)

– The team are arguing among themselves. (Plural verb)

5. Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone,” “someone,” or “anyone,” are typically singular and require singular verbs. For example:

– Everyone has their own opinion. (Singular verb)

– Someone is knocking at the door. (Singular verb)

6. Verb Agreement with Modifiers

When a sentence contains modifiers that separate the subject and the verb, it is easy to lose track of the verb agreement. The verb should always agree with the subject, regardless of any intervening words. For example:

– The dog, along with its puppies, barks at strangers. (Subject: dog, verb: barks)

– The books on the shelf need to be organized. (Subject: books, verb: need)

In conclusion, proper use of verb agreement is crucial for clear and effective communication in writing. By understanding the basic rules of subject-verb agreement, you can avoid common grammatical errors and improve your writing skills. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep honing your grammar knowledge and skills and enjoy the benefits of writing with correct grammar.