• Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Subject-Verb Agreement Errors Exercises


Jul 15, 2022

As a copy editor, it is essential to be proficient in subject-verb agreement, as it is one of the most common grammatical errors in writing. Subject-verb agreement errors occur when the subject and verb in a sentence do not agree in number, causing confusion and affecting the clarity of the message. Fortunately, there are many exercises that writers can practice to improve their subject-verb agreement skills.

Exercise 1: Identify the subject and verb

The first step in correcting subject-verb agreement errors is to correctly identify the subject and verb in a sentence. Begin by reading the sentence out loud and breaking it down into its core components. Once you have identified the subject and verb, determine whether they agree in number (singular or plural). For example, in the sentence “The cat chases the mice,” the subject (cat) and verb (chases) agree in number as they are both singular.

Exercise 2: Match the subject and verb

Next, practice matching the subject and verb by writing sentences with different subjects and verbs that agree in number. For example, “The dogs bark loudly” and “The birds sing sweetly” are two sentences with subjects (dogs and birds) that require plural verbs (bark and sing).

Exercise 3: Identify tricky subjects

Some subjects can be tricky to identify, leading to errors in subject-verb agreement. For instance, collective nouns such as “team” and “family” can be singular or plural depending on the context in which they are used. In the sentence “The team is playing well,” “team” is a singular subject and requires a singular verb (is). However, in the sentence “The team are discussing their strategies,” “team” is being treated as a plural subject and requires a plural verb (are).

Exercise 4: Use of indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns such as “everyone,” “someone,” and “no one” are also sources of subject-verb agreement errors. These pronouns are always treated as singular subjects and require singular verbs. For example, “Everyone is responsible for their own work” is correct, while “Everyone are responsible for their own work” is incorrect.

Exercise 5: Verb tense agreement

In addition to matching the subject and verb, it is also essential to ensure that the verb tense is consistent throughout the sentence. For instance, in the sentence “She is running and jumps over the hurdle,” there is a shift in verb tense from present continuous (is running) to simple present (jumps). To correct this, use the present continuous tense for both verbs, as in “She is running and jumping over the hurdle.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement errors can be challenging to master but practicing exercises such as identifying the subject and verb, matching the subject and verb, identifying tricky subjects, using indefinite pronouns, and ensuring verb tense agreement can improve your writing skills significantly. Remember that consistency is key in achieving subject-verb agreement, and a careful review of your work can help you catch and correct any errors.

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