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Subject Verb Agreement Tips and Tricks for Government Exams

Introduction

  • Subject-verb agreement, also called “subject-verb concord,” refers to matching the subject and verb of a sentence in tense, aspect, and mood (abbreviated as TAM), which translates to number, person, and gender. 
  • English doesn’t use grammatical gender (except for pronouns), and only the verb be changes based on whether it’s first, second, or third person. That means most English subject-verb agreement is about quantity: if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular; if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. 
  • Even this can get confusing, though, because talking in the first-person singular (“I climb the fence”) uses the same verb format as talking in the first-person plural (“We climb the fence”). Aside from the verb be, subject-verb agreement in English adapts verbs to the third-person singular (“It climbs the fence”). 

Subject Verb Agreement Tips and Tricks for Government Exams

Theory

  • Subject-verb agreement is the grammatical rule that the verb or verbs in a sentence must match the number, person, and gender of the subject; in English, the verb needs to match just the number and sometimes the person. For example, the singular subject it and the plural subject they use different versions of the same verb: “it goes . . . ” and “they go . . . ”
  • Learning the rules for subject-verb agreement can be difficult at first, but with enough practice, you’ll find they start to make more sense.

Rules

1. General Rule for Singular Subject and Singular Verb

  • Singular subjects attach to singular verbs. The singular verb attaches ‘s/es’ in the last of V1 (A base form of the verb).
  • Singular subject + singular verb (V1+ s/es) + Object (He, she, it) + (eat + s/es = eats) + every day.

2. General Rule for Plural Subject and Plural Verb

  • Plural subject attached to the plural verb. The plural verb does not attach ‘es’ in the last of V1 (A base form of the verb).
  • Singular subject + singular verb (V+ Object (We, they) + eat + every day.

Solved Examples

Question for Tips & Tricks: Subject Verb Agreement
Try yourself:Fill in the blank with the correct verb.

Either shirts or tops ____ on sale.

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Question for Tips & Tricks: Subject Verb Agreement
Try yourself:Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?
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Question for Tips & Tricks: Subject Verb Agreement
Try yourself:Which of the following sentences is grammatically incorrect?
View Solution

Question for Tips & Tricks: Subject Verb Agreement
Try yourself:Fill in the blank with the correct verb.

Guavas, apples and grapes ____ Diana's favourite fruits.

View Solution

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