PRESENT TENSE SUBJECT AND VERB AGREEMENT


copyright 1996 Cynthia Joyce Clay

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PRESENT TENSE SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT

In English, SINGULAR NOUNS are the original form of the noun, such as:

cat

dog

tree

desk

class

The PLURAL NOUNS are normally formed by the simple addition of an S.

cats

dogs

trees

desks

Sometimes an ES is added, as when the singular form already has an S on it.

classes

When the singular noun ends with a Y, the Y is changed to I before and an ES is added:

baby-->babies

lady-->ladies

party-->parties

Thus, the mere addition of an S or ES serves to make most nouns plural. These are the regular nouns. However, there are irregular nouns that transform into a whole new look:

person--> people

child--> children

mouse--> mice

Singular nouns always take singular verbs, and plural nouns always take plural verbs.

SINGULAR VERBS (in the present tense) ARE FORMED BY THE ADDITION OF AN S! So, if the noun DOES NOT have an S on it, and the noun is a regular noun, then the verb will have an S:

The baby (no S) eatS (an S on the verb).

The cat (no S) meowS (an S on the verb).

The tree (no S) bearS (an S on the verb) fruit.

Singular nouns that change their form are also matched with verbs that have an S added to them:

The person iS (verb has an S) happy.

The child haS (verb has an S) a toy.

The mouse hideS (verb has an S) from the cat.

Even when a singular noun has an S, the verb STILL has an S:

The class (the singular noun has an S) takeS (verb has an S) a test.

The glass (singular noun with an S) breakS (verb has an S) when dropped.

The reverse happens when the noun is plural! Since the plural noun has an S on it, the matching plural verb DOES NOT HAVE AN S!

The catS (S on noun) chase (no S on verb) the mice.

The houseS (S on noun) look (no S on verb) good.

Even when the plural noun does not use an S, the plural verb will still have NO S:

The men (no S even though plural) fly (no on verb S) the airplane.

The mice (no S even though plural) run (no S on verb) from the cats.


There are exercises you can try. Otherwise, why not learn more grammar.

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