Starting in grade 1, students learn about the use of singular and plural nouns in sentences, and the verbs those correlate to in sentences.
What is subject-verb agreement?
Subject-verb agreement means that the subject (the noun) of the sentence and the verb must agree, either in case or number.
The basic rule is:
A singular subject takes a singular verb.
Example: The sun shines brightly in the sky.
A plural subject takes a plural verb.
Example: The stars shine brightly in the night sky.
In later grades, students work on more complex sentences, where the subject-verb agreements become more complicated. This can cause some confusion for students, so we thought we’d run through the most common subject-verb agreements.
Subject in sentences with ‘of’
In sentences with the word of, the subject often comes before ‘of’.
Example: The bouquet of roses smells wonderful.
Subject in either/or, neither/nor
In sentences with two singular subjects connected by either/or, neither/mor take a singular verb.
Example: Mom or Dad cooks dinner at night.
Subject in sentences with ‘and’
In sentences two or more subjects connected by ‘and’, the verb is a plural verb.
Example: Tom and Ben play soccer in the park.
There are some exceptions to this rule: Breaking and entering is against the law. The bed and breakfast is wonderful.
Distances, periods of time, sums of money
In sentences using periods of time, distances, sums of money, etc. the subject is considered a singular subject.
Example: Twenty dollars is a high price to pay for a quart of milk.
There’s an exception to the rule: Twenty dollars were scattered all over the field. In this case, the reference is to several dollar bills. They are referred to as multiple units, so a plural subject.