Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of English grammar that every learner must understand. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb in a sentence, ensuring that they match in number and tense. The rule of subject-verb agreement states that singular subjects should have singular verbs, while plural subjects should have plural verbs.
For example, „He plays soccer” is correct, while „He play soccer” is wrong because the subject is singular, and the verb should be singular too. Similarly, „They play soccer” is correct, while „They plays soccer” is wrong because the subject is plural, and the verb should be plural too.
Subject-verb agreement can be tricky for non-native speakers of English, especially when the subject and verb are separated by other words, such as prepositional phrases or clauses. In such cases, it`s essential to identify the subject correctly and match the verb accordingly.
Here are some tips for mastering subject-verb agreement in English:
1. Identify the subject
Before deciding on the appropriate verb, you need to identify the subject first. The subject is the person, place, thing, or idea that the sentence is about. Sometimes the subject can be a noun, pronoun, or even a verb. Once you have identified the subject, you can choose the appropriate verb that matches it in number and tense.
2. Check for intervening words
Intervening words such as prepositional phrases, clauses, or adjectives can make subject-verb agreement more challenging. However, you should disregard these words and focus on the subject to match the verb correctly. For instance, „The cat, as well as the dog, is sleeping” is correct because the subject `cat` is singular, and the verb `is` matches it.
3. Pay attention to collective nouns
Collective nouns refer to a group of things or people, such as team, class, or family. They can be singular or plural depending on the context. For instance, „The team is playing hard” is correct because the subject `team` is singular. On the other hand, „The family are eating dinner” is correct because `family` is considered plural in this context.
4. Be consistent in tense
Consistency in tense is crucial for subject-verb agreement. If the subject is in the present tense, the verb should be in the present tense too. Similarly, if the subject is in the past tense, the verb should be in the past tense too.
In conclusion, understanding subject-verb agreement is vital in English grammar. By following these tips, you can improve your writing and communicate effectively in English. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner, mastering subject-verb agreement is essential for fluency in speaking and writing.