Subject verb concord means that sentence parts match. Subjects must agree with verbs and pronouns must agree with antecedents. Otherwise, the sentences will sound awkward.
The basic rule of sentence agreement is a subject must agree with its verb in number and person. (Number means amount. The number can be singular—one—or plural—more than one and person means first-second-third person.)
Exploring Subject/Verb Agreement
There are three items that work together to form a complete sentence. They are:
- Complete Thought
In order to form a complete thought, subjects and verbs must agree.Subject/Verb agreement is a necessary for sentence structure to be correct.
In Subject/verb agreement, the subject and verb must agree in number. That is, either both must be singular, or both must be plural. A singular subject has no “s” on the end, but a singular verb has an “s,” whereas the opposite is true for plural subjects and verbs.
1. Phrases Between Subject and Verb
Another common source of error are those sentences that contain a phrase between the
subject and verb.
Examples of such sentences are below.
• My brother, who grew up in several states, is very smart.
• Did you know my flat, which is the green one over there, was
built by great architect.
• Learning English as a second language, as opposed to
growing up speaking it, can be very difficult.
2. Misleading Singular Nouns
Some nouns, even though they end in –s, are considered singular, and so take singular
verbs. Some such nouns include:
• Branches or fields of knowledge (politics,
mathematics, physics, ethics)
• Names of food when referring to a single dish
(baked beans, mashed potatoes)
• Some diseases (mumps, measles)
3. Prepositional Phrases
• The basket of lily is beautiful. (Of lily is a prepositional phrase so it cannot be part of the subject. That means the subject is basket. Basket is singular, so 'is' is the correct verb.)
• The drums of petrol have a strong smell.(Of petrol is a prepositional phrase so it cannot be part of the subject. That means the subject is drums. Drums is plural, so have is the correct verb.)
• The Children in the garden were loud.(In the garden is a prepositional phrase so it cannot be part of the subject. That means the subject is children. Children is plural, so were is the correct verb.)