LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Subject and Verb Agreement

The subject and verb must agree in number: both must be singular, or both must be plural. Problems occur in the present tense because one must add an -s or -es at the end of the verb when the subjects or the entity performing the action is a singular third person: he, she, it, or words for which these pronouns could substitute.

Notice the difference between singular and plural forms in the following examples:

The student sings. (He or she sings) Your children sing. (They sing)
The bird does migrate. (It does) Those birds do migrate. (They do)

In order to find out if your subject and verb agree, you need to be able to identify the subject of your sentence. Here are some helpful hints that will help you to decipher where your subject is and where it is not.

Where is my subject?

© 1997, 1998, 1999 The Write Place

The Write Place

LEO: Literacy Education Online

The print handout was revised and then redesigned for the Web by Maggie Escalas for the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last Update: 5 October 1999

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/grammar/subverag.html