Subject Verb Agreement Rules with Exercises

Subject-verb agreement is one of the most important rules in English grammar. It is the agreement between the subject and the verb in a sentence. The subject is the person, animal or thing that is doing the action, while the verb is the action being done.

When the subject is singular, the verb also should be singular. Likewise when the subject is plural, the verb should be plural too. However, the placement of the subject can sometimes create confusion when it comes to the verb. Here are some subject-verb agreement rules along with exercises to help improve your understanding.

Rule #1: A singular subject should have a singular verb and a plural subject should have a plural verb.

Examples:

– The dog barks. (singular)

– The dogs bark. (plural)

Exercise: Choose the correct verb form in the following sentences.

1. The bird (sings/sing) every morning.

2. The children (play/plays) in the park.

3. The apples (is/are) ripe.

Rule #2: If the subject is connected by “or” or “nor”, the verb agrees with the nearest subject.

Examples:

– Either the cat or the dog barks at the mailman. (singular)

– Neither the cat nor the dog likes baths. (singular)

Exercise: Choose the appropriate verb in the following sentences.

1. Neither the teacher nor the students (knows/know) the answer.

2. Either the cake or the cookies (taste/tastes) delicious.

3. Neither the books nor the pencils (are/is) on the table.

Rule #3: If the subject is joined by “and”, the verb must be plural.

Examples:

– The dog and the cat play together. (plural)

– Tom and Jerry are friends. (plural)

Exercise: Choose the correct verb in the following sentences.

1. The parents and the children (is/are) going to the park.

2. The computer and the printer (works/work) together.

3. The books and the pens (has/have) been placed on the table.

Rule #4: When the subject is a collective noun like family, team, audience, the verb can be either singular or plural depending on the context.

Examples:

– The team is playing well. (singular)

– The audience are cheering for their favorite team. (plural)

Exercise: Choose the correct verb in the following sentences.

1. The family (is/are) sitting down for dinner.

2. The class (enjoys/enjoy) participating in group activities.

3. The staff (is/are) busy with their work.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential rule to master in English grammar. By understanding these rules and practicing exercises, you can improve your writing and communication skills. Remember to pay attention to the number of subjects in a sentence and match it with the correct verb tense for clear and effective communication.


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