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Subject-Verb Agreement

Average: 5 (10 votes)

When we write a sentence we need to make sure that the subject and the verb agree. This means:

If the subject is a singular noun or the pronouns he, she, it, it must take a singular verb.

He enjoys playing tennis.
The dog barks loudly.
The cat is eating its food.
Carol has bought a new dress.
Does she know the answer?

If the subject is a plural noun or the pronoun we, you ,they, it must take a plural verb:

They enjoy playing tennis.
The dogs bark loudly.
The cats are eating their food.
We have bought new dresses.
Do all of you know the answer?

Collective Nouns

Collective nouns can take either singular or plural verbs, depending on the situation:

If the members of a group are all acting as one, use a singular verb, e.g.
The team is training on the field. (All the players are training together at the same time).
The class takes its first exam today. (All the students are taking the exam at the same time).

If the members are acting as individuals, use a plural verb, e.g.
After training, the team shower and change their clothes. (The players are doing these activities as individuals).
This week, the class start their research projects. (The students are doing individual projects).

Lesson by Nasreen, teacher at EC Cape Town English school

Choose the correct form to complete these sentences:

  • 1. I ___ to school every day.

  • 2. David ___ to school with his brother.

  • 3. ___ Cynthia come home yet?

  • 4. ___ you seen Cynthia?

  • 5. They ___ going to the cinema tonight.

  • 6. ___ Mark going with you?

  • 7. I need to ___ home.

  • 8. Terry ___ to the gym every day.

  • 9. ___ you like watching television?

  • 10. ___ your sister have a boyfriend?

  • 11. The class ___ giving their presentations.

  • 12. The band ___ playing tonight.

  • 13. The family ___ moved to Australia.

  • 14. The group ___ giving their opinions.

  • 15. The team ___ won again!