Noun-Verb Agreement

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Understand Noun-Verb Relationship in the Sentence

In traditional English, the subject and the verb relationship is the most significant co–ordination.

Nouns and verbs must agree in number Opens in new window. They will be either singular or plural. This is known as the subject–verb agreementOpens in new window. The subject (noun) and verb must agree with one another.

The Basic Rule for Noun-Verb Agreement

A singular verb must have a singular subject. Similarly, a plural verb must have a plural subject.

If the subject and verb in a sentence are not in agreement, the sentence will not only sound awkward, but it will also likely be confusing to the reader.

Remember that if the verb is singular, so also must the subject be singular. If the verb is plural, so also must the subject be plural.

Compare the following:

  1. Third Person Singular
    • The boy buys oranges.
    Third Person Plural
    • The boys buy oranges.
  2. Third Person Singular
    • The orange is sweet.
    Third Person Plural
    • The oranges are sweet.
  3. Third Person Singular
    • That lady likes oranges.
    Third Person Plural
    • Those ladies like oranges.

Pondering over these examples, you may see that the singular verb forms end in s, while the plural only remains normal.

See Subject-Verb AgreementOpens in new window for even richer knowledge in the rules of –s endings.

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