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Subject/Verb Agreement

Every clause needs a subject and a verb.

The subject and the verb must agree with each

other.  Subject/Verb agreement is a concern

in most tenses.


In present tense verbs, singular nouns agree with singular verbs and plural or compound nouns agree with plural verbs.


singular subject     singular action verb(singular action verbs end in s)

 The child                    walks to school.

  Elise                         plays basketball.

 The student                studies at the library every day.


plural subject       plural action verb (plural action verbs do not end in s)

 The children               walk to school.

  Elise and Jane           play basketball.

 The students              study at the library every day.  


singular subject     singular linking verb(is)

 The child                    is a walker.

  Elise                         is excellent at basketball.

 The student                is a strong academically.


plural subject       plural linking verb (are)

 The children               are walkers.

  Elise and Jane           are excellent at basketball.

 The students              are strong academically.


Singular and plural pronouns have their own subject/verb agreement rules.
pronoun as subject     action verb
        I                        run.
            You                   run.
         We                   run.
        They                   run.
         He                     runs.
           She                    runs.
         It                       runs.

pronoun as subject     linking verb
        I                        am fast.
            You                   are fast.
         We                   are fast.
        They                   are fast.
         He                     is fast.
           She                    is fast.

         It                       is fast.


All the above examples show subject/verb agreement in the simple present tense.  Subject/Verb agreement is a concern in other present tenses as well.

        present-perfect tense

              Tom has seen the movie three times.

               He has seen the movie three times.

               I have seen the movie three times.

               Tom and Byron have seen the movie three times.

       present-progressive tense

               Tom is watching the movie right now.

               He is watching the movie right now.
               I am watching the movie right now.
               Tom and Byron are watching the movie right now.
        present-perfect progressive tense
                Tom has been watching the movie for an hour.
                He has beenwatching the movie for an hour.
                I have been watching the movie for an hour.
               Tom and Byron have been watching the movie for an hour.

Subject/Verb Agreement is a concern with some past tense verbs
In the simple past tense, subject/verb agreement is not an issue with action verbs, but it is with be verbs.
               I was funny.
              She was funny.
              He was funny.
              It was funny.
              You were funny.
              They were funny.
              We were funny.
              Mike was funny.
              Mike and Sandra were funny.
In the past progressive tense, subject/verb agreement is always a concern.
              I was running.
              She was running.
              He was running.
              It was running.
              You were running.
              They were running.
              We were running.
              Mike was running.
              Mike and Sandra were running.  
In the past perfect tense, subject/verb agreement is not a concern.
              I had run.
              She had run.
              He had run.
              It had run.
              You had run.
              They had run.
              We had run.
              Mike had run.
              Mike and Sandra had run.
In the past perfect progressive tense, subject/verb agreement is not a concern.
              I had been running.
              She had been running.
              He had been running.
              It had been running.
              You had been running.
              They had been running.
              We had been running.
              Mike had been running.
              Mike and Sandra had been running.