Verbs are the backbone of any sentence, and ensuring they agree with their subjects is paramount to clear and effective communication. Subject-verb agreement means that the verb must match the number and person of the subject in order for the sentence to make sense. This means that when the subject is plural, the verb must have an „s“ or „es“ added to the end, and in singular form, the verb remains unchanged.
To master verb agreement practice, it is necessary to understand how subjects and verbs interact. In simple sentences, the subject is usually the noun that performs the action, while the verb tells us what the subject is doing. For example, „The cat jumps“ – here, „the cat“ is the singular subject and „jumps“ is the verb that agrees with it.
However, in more complex sentences, the subject and verb may not be as easily identifiable. Compound subjects, such as „John and Sarah“, also require plural verbs, as they are made up of two or more people or things. In this case, „John and Sarah eat pizza“ – the subject „John and Sarah“ is plural, so the verb „eat“ matches it.
There are also instances where the subject and verb are separated by a phrase or clause, which can make it harder to identify the correct verb agreement. In these cases, you need to identify the subject and remember to make the verb agree with it, not the intervening phrase.
Another point to keep in mind is that subject-verb agreement is not affected by words that come between the subject and verb. For example, „The dog, as well as the cat, is sleeping“ – here, „dog“ is the subject, so the verb „is“ matches it, despite the phrase „as well as the cat“ in between.
In addition to basic subject-verb agreement, there are special cases that should be considered. For instance, collective nouns, which refer to a group of people or things as a single entity, can be either singular or plural, depending on the context. For example, „The team is coming“ versus „The team are fighting“ – in the first sentence, „team“ is singular, so the verb „is“ matches it. In the second sentence, „team“ is plural, so the verb „are“ matches it.
Lastly, there are irregular verbs that do not follow the standard -s or -es rule for plural subjects. These verbs have unique forms that must be memorized. For example, „sheep“ and „deer“ are both singular and plural, so the verb that follows them remains unchanged.
In conclusion, practicing subject-verb agreement takes time and effort, but it is essential for clear, concise, and effective communication. By following these basic rules and paying attention to special cases, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and professional.