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SUBJECT – VERB AGREEMENT

Present tense

A verb and its subject must agree in number.

To agree means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be in singular form.

If the subject is plural, the verb form must be plural.

Examples:

The baby cries every morning – Singular

The babies cry every morning – Plural

 

 

Rules for subject-verb Agreement

  1. Singular subject. The man drives a bus.

Add -s or -es to the verb.  She teaches in a primary school.

He studies his map.

  1. Plural subject: The men drive buses.

Do not add -s or –es. They teach in primary schools.

To the verb. We study our maps.

  1. For I or You. I hate books.

Do not add -s or -es to the verb. You like dogs.

I admire actors.

When a sentence has a compound subject i.e.two subjects joined by and, the plural form of the verb is used.

 

Examples: John and James work at Navel Supermarket.

The teachers and the students respect one another a lot.

Subject-verb agreement with be and have

The verbs be and have change their forms in special ways in order to agree with their subjects.

Various ways in which be and have change in order to agree with their subjects.

Subject Be Have

 

Singular subjects:

I

You

He, she, it

Singular Noun

Am,            was

Are,            were

Is,               was

Have,         had

Has,            had

 

Plural subjects:

We

You

They

 

Plural Noun

We, were

Are, were

Have, had

 

Exercise

Put appropriate Present tense verbs in the blank spaces in the following sentences.

Ensure that the subject agrees with the verb and that the sentence makes sense.

  1. The dogs _______________ their owners.
  2. She ______________ at the door.
  3. They ______________ the road at the Zebra-crossing.
  4. Many blind people ___________________ dogs as guides.
  5. We ________________ dogs every day.
  6. Mark always _______________ his house.
  7. I often _______________ with June.
  8. Mr. Mwangi __________________ his aunt in Mombasa.
  9. He and Jane ________________ next month.
  10. The directors ______________ the company.

 

See also:

THE PROGRESSIVE VERB FORMS

THE PERFECT TENSES

THE SIMPLE TENSES

THE FUTURE TENSE

THE PAST TENSE

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