Exercises for Subject Verb Agreement

When it comes to writing effectively, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is ensuring subject verb agreement. Simply put, this means that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number (singular or plural). For example, « The cat chases the mouse » is correct because « cat » is singular and « chases » is its matching verb. On the other hand, « The cat chase the mouse » is incorrect because the verb « chase » is plural, while « cat » is singular. Here are some exercises to help you master subject verb agreement:

1. Match singular subjects with singular verbs

Practice matching singular subjects with singular verbs by filling in the blanks with the correct verb form. For example: « The bird ____(fly/flys) south for the winter. » The correct answer is « The bird flies south for the winter. »

2. Match plural subjects with plural verbs

Similarly, practice matching plural subjects with plural verbs. For example: « The birds ____(fly/flys) south for the winter. » The correct answer is « The birds fly south for the winter. »

3. Identify collective nouns

Collective nouns refer to a group of individuals, yet they are singular in form. For example, « The team is practicing » is correct because « team » is a collective noun. Practice identifying collective nouns by identifying the singular verb that matches the subject. Example: « The committee ____(has/have) reached a decision. » The correct answer is « The committee has reached a decision. »

4. Match singular subjects with plural verbs (and vice versa)

Sometimes, subject verb agreement can be tricky when the subject is not straightforwardly singular or plural. For example, « The news ____ (are/is) reporting on the storm. » The correct answer is « The news is reporting on the storm, » despite the fact that « news » seems like it could be plural. Practice matching singular and plural subjects with verbs that may be opposite. This will help you get the hang of when to use singular and plural verb forms.

5. Correct errors in sentences

Finally, practice correcting subject verb agreement errors in sentences. For example, « The group of students were presenting their project » should be corrected to « The group of students was presenting its project, » since « group » is a singular collective noun and therefore requires a singular verb form.

In conclusion, mastering subject verb agreement is essential to producing clear and professional writing. By practicing these exercises, you can improve your writing skills and avoid common mistakes. Keep in mind that consistency and attention to detail are key to achieving subject verb agreement in all of your writing.

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