English Concord: Subject-Verb Agreement

 

The book "English Concord: Subject-Verb Agreement" is a comprehensive guide to understanding and mastering the rules of subject-verb agreement in the English language. It covers the basics of subject-verb agreement, including the different types of subjects and verbs and how they interact with each other. The book also delves into more advanced topics, such as irregular verbs and complex sentence structures.

Objectives:

  • To provide a comprehensive understanding of the rules of subject-verb agreement in the English language.
  • To cover the different types of subjects and verbs and how they interact with each other.
  • To delve into more advanced topics such as irregular verbs and complex sentence structures.
  • To provide examples and exercises for practice and solidification of understanding.
  • To offer tips and strategies for improving overall grammar and sentence construction.
  • To be a valuable resource for both native and non-native English speakers.


Basic Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

A. Singular subjects with singular verbs:

The subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. This means that a singular subject must be matched with a singular verb and a plural subject must be matched with a plural verb.

For example:

  • The dog barked. (singular subject "dog" and singular verb "barked")
  • The dogs barked. (plural subject "dogs" and plural verb "barked")

B. Plural subjects with plural verbs:

In the same way, a plural subject must be matched with a plural verb.

For example:

  • The cats meow. (plural subject "cats" and plural verb "meow")
  • The children play. (plural subject "children" and plural verb "play")

C. Compound subjects:

When a sentence has a compound subject, the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it.

For example:

  • The dog and the cat chase the ball. (compound subject "dog and cat" and verb "chase")
  • The cat and the dog chase the ball. (compound subject "cat and dog" and verb "chase")

D. Intervening phrases:

Sometimes there may be phrases that intervene between the subject and the verb. It's important to ignore these phrases and focus on the subject when determining verb agreement.

For example:

  • The boy, with his new toy, plays happily. (subject "boy" and verb "plays")
  • The boys, with their new toys, play happily. (subject "boys" and verb "play")

E. Special cases:

In cases where the subject is "either/or" or "neither/nor," the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.

For example:

  • Neither the boy nor the girls are going to the party. (subject "boy" and verb "are" since it's closer)
  • Neither the girls nor the boy is going to the party. (subject "boy" and verb "is" since it's closer)

F. Examples and exercises:

Choose the correct verb form to match the subject:

  • The apple (is/are) red. (is)
  • The apples (is/are) red. (are)
  • Either the boy or the girl (is/are) going to the concert. (is)
  • Neither the dog nor the cats (is/are) allowed in the park. (are)
  • Identify the subject and verb in the following sentences:
  • The dog barks loudly. (subject: dog, verb: barks)
  • The cats meow softly. (subject: cats, verb: meow)
  • The boy and the girl play together. (subject: boy and girl, verb: play)
  • The children, with their toys, laugh happily. (subject: children, verb: laugh)


Advanced Rules of Subject-Verb Agreement

A. Indefinite pronouns as subjects:

Indefinite pronouns such as "everyone," "somebody," "anyone," "nobody," "each," etc. can be singular or plural depending on the context of the sentence.

For example:

  • Everybody is here. (singular verb "is" agrees with singular subject "everybody")
  • Some people are here. (plural verb "are" agrees with plural subject "people")

B. Collective nouns as subjects:

Collective nouns such as "group," "team," "class," etc. can be singular or plural depending on whether the noun is being considered as a single entity or as a collection of individuals. 

For example:

  • The team is playing well. (singular verb "is" agrees with collective noun "team" as a single entity)
  • The team are discussing strategy. (plural verb "are" agrees with collective noun "team" as a collection of individuals)

C. Verb forms in the present perfect and past perfect tenses:

The present perfect and past perfect tenses are formed using the auxiliary verb "have" and the past participle form of the main verb. In these tenses, the subject and auxiliary verb must agree in number.

For example:

  • He has played the game. (singular subject "he" and singular auxiliary verb "has")
  • They have played the game. (plural subject "they" and plural auxiliary verb "have")

D. Subjunctive mood:

The subjunctive mood is used to express doubt, possibility, or potentiality. In these cases, the subject and verb may not always agree in number.

For example:

  • If he were to come, we would be happy. (singular subject "he" and singular verb "were" in the subjunctive mood)
  • If they were to come, we would be happy. (plural subject "they" and singular verb "were" in the subjunctive mood)

E. Examples and exercises:

Choose the correct verb form to match the subject:

  • Nobody (is/are) coming to the party. (is)
  • The group (is/are) meeting at the park. (is)
  • I (have/has) been waiting for two hours. (have)
  • They (have/has) been waiting for two hours. (have)
  • Identify the subject and verb in the following sentences:
  • If I were to win, I would be happy. (subject: I, verb: were)
  • The class is studying for the exam. (subject: class, verb: is)
  • The team has won the championship. (subject: team, verb: has)
  • Each of the boys is responsible for his own homework. (subject: each, verb: is)
  • Identify the verb form used in the following sentences:
  • He had been studying for the exam. (past perfect)
  • They have been waiting for two hours. (present perfect)
  • The subjunctive mood is used to express doubt, possibility, or potentiality. (simple present)


Common Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement

A. Explanation of common mistakes in subject-verb agreement:

One of the most common errors in subject-verb agreement is confusion between the singular and plural forms of the verb. Other mistakes include not paying attention to intervening phrases, not understanding the subject in compound subjects, not understanding the meaning of indefinite pronouns, and not understanding the context of collective nouns.

B. Tips to avoid these mistakes:

  • Pay attention to the subject and its number when choosing the verb form.
  • Ignore intervening phrases and focus on the subject when determining verb agreement.
  • Identify the subject in compound subjects and choose the verb form that agrees with it.
  • Understand the meaning of indefinite pronouns and collective nouns in order to determine the correct verb form.
  • Read the sentence aloud to ensure that the subject and verb sound correct.

C. Examples of common errors and exercises to correct them:

Identify the errors in the following sentences and rewrite them with the correct subject-verb agreement:

  • The dog barks loudly at night. (correct)
  • The dogs bark loudly at night. (correct)
  • The cat and the dog chase the ball. (correct)
  • The cat and the dog chases the ball. (The cat and the dog chase the ball)
  • They is going to the concert. (They are going to the concert)
  • If he was to come, we would be happy. (If he were to come, we would be happy)
  • Choose the correct verb form to match the subject:
  • The group of students (is/are) going on a field trip. (are)
  • Each of the boys (is/are) responsible for their own homework. (is)
  • Somebody (is/are) at the door. (is)
  • The jury (has/have) reached a verdict. (has)
  • Identify the subject and verb in the following sentences and determine if they agree:
  • The team is playing well. (subject: team, verb: is, agree)
  • The team are discussing strategy. (subject: team, verb: are, agree)
  • The dog barks loudly. (subject: dog, verb: barks, agree)
  • The dogs bark loudly. (subject: dogs, verb: bark, agree)
  • The cat and the dog chases the ball. (subject: cat and dog, verb: chases, don't agree)
  • Read the following sentences aloud and determine if the subject and verb sound correct:
  • The class is studying for the exam. (correct)
  • The class are studying for the exam. (don't sound correct)
  • The jury has reached a verdict. (correct)
  • The jury have reached a verdict. (don't sound correct)


Practice and Review

A. Review of all rules and examples covered in the book:

To ensure that you have a solid understanding of subject-verb agreement, it's important to review all of the rules and examples covered in the book. This includes basic rules such as singular subjects with singular verbs, plural subjects with plural verbs, and compound subjects. It also includes advanced rules such as indefinite pronouns as subjects, collective nouns as subjects, verb forms in the present perfect and past perfect tenses, and the subjunctive mood.

B. Practice exercises and quizzes:

To solidify your understanding and improve your skills, it's important to practice applying the rules and examples covered in the book. This can be done through exercises and quizzes that test your ability to identify errors in subject-verb agreement, choose the correct verb form to match the subject, and identify the subject and verb in a sentence.

Here are some examples:

Identify the errors in the following sentences and rewrite them with the correct subject-verb agreement: "The cat and the dog chases the ball." (The cat and the dog chase the ball)

Choose the correct verb form to match the subject: "The group of students (is/are) going on a field trip." (are)

Identify the subject and verb in the following sentence and determine if they agree: "The dog barks loudly." (subject: dog, verb: barks, agree)

C. Final assessment and evaluation:

After completing the practice exercises and quizzes, you can take a final assessment to evaluate your understanding and mastery of subject-verb agreement. This assessment should include both multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions that ask you to identify errors and apply the rules in original sentences. Once you have completed the final assessment, you can review your answers and identify areas where you need further practice and review.

In Conclusion:

The book English Concord: Subject-Verb Agreement is an essential guide for anyone looking to master the rules of subject-verb agreement in the English language. Through clear explanations, examples, and exercises, readers will thoroughly understand this important aspect of grammar.

The book also offers valuable tips and strategies for improving overall grammar and sentence construction, making it a valuable resource for both native and non-native English speakers.

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