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Agreement with Words Between the Subject and Verb

Making subjects

The part of the sentence that names the person, place, or thing the sentence is about. Subjects are usually nouns or pronouns.

The word firefighters is the subject of the following sentence:

Seven firefighters were injured in the apartment fire.
and verbs

A verb indicates the meaning of a sentence as it shows action, occurrence, or state of being. Verbs change form to show time, voice, number, person, and mood.

In the following sentence, the verb have is used correctly:

Ben and Ted have so many friends.
agree simply means using singular verbs with singular subjects and plural verbs with plural subjects. The following sentences have correct subject-verb agreement:

A trail winds along the shoreline.

Hiking trails wind through the forest.

In the examples above, notice that adding an s to the singular noun makes it plural, while removing the s from a singular verb makes it plural.

To make the subject and verb in a sentence agree, you must first identify the subject and verb.

When you look for the subject of a sentence, always look for a noun. However, be careful not to choose a noun that is not the subject of the sentence. Consider the following sentences:

The house looks beautiful in autumn.

The trees look beautiful in autumn.

The house under the trees looks beautiful in autumn.

When a phrase

A phrase is a group of related words that does not make a complete statement.
The following groups of words are phrases (specifically, prepositional phrases):

in the beginning, behind the house, before the storm

comes between the subject and verb, as in the last of the example sentences, the noun in the phrase may seem to be the subject. It never is. Even though it is closer to the verb than the actual subject, a noun in a phrase can never be the subject of a sentence.


Quick Check  

Click the correct sentence.

Many people in the city enjoy its parks.
Many people in the city enjoys its parks.

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