Subject-verb agreement is an essential component of effective writing. It refers to the correct use of verb tense in relation to the subject of a sentence. This agreement means that the verb must agree with the subject in number and person. However, many writers find it challenging to maintain this agreement consistently throughout a piece of writing. In this article, we will discuss exercises that can help you master subject-verb agreement.
Exercise 1: Identify the subject
The first exercise is to identify the subject of a sentence. To do this, simply ask yourself who or what is performing the action in the sentence. Once you have identified the subject, determine whether it is singular or plural. This step is crucial because it will help you choose the correct verb form.
For example, in the sentence “The dog barks loudly,” the subject is “the dog,” which is singular. Therefore, the verb “barks” agrees with the subject.
Exercise 2: Match the subject and verb
The second exercise is to match the subject and verb. This exercise requires you to pay close attention to the number of the subject and choose the correct verb form accordingly. For instance, if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.
For example, in the sentence “The students study hard,” the subject (students) is plural. Therefore, the verb (study) agrees with the subject.
Exercise 3: Identify indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns are words such as “everyone,” “someone,” “anyone,” “nobody,” etc. These pronouns can be tricky when it comes to subject-verb agreement. To ensure proper agreement, remember that singular indefinite pronouns require singular verb forms, while plural indefinite pronouns require plural verb forms.
For example, in the sentence “Everyone was excited about the news,” the indefinite pronoun “everyone” is singular. Therefore, the verb “was” agrees with the subject.
Exercise 4: Watch out for interrupted subjects
Sometimes, a sentence may have an interrupted subject, which can cause confusion when it comes to subject-verb agreement. In such cases, it is important to identify the main subject of the sentence and choose the verb form that agrees with it.
For example, in the sentence “The cat, as well as the dogs, loves to play,” the main subject is “the cat,” which is singular. Therefore, the verb “loves” agrees with the subject.
Exercise 5: Use the right tense
Finally, it is important to use the right tense when writing sentences. This means that the verb tense should match the timeline of the action being described. For example, if the action happened in the past, the verb should be in the past tense.
For example, in the sentence “I visited my grandmother yesterday,” the verb “visited” is in the past tense because the action happened in the past.
In conclusion, mastering subject-verb agreement is crucial for effective writing. By practicing these exercises, you can improve your understanding and application of proper agreement, which will enhance the clarity and impact of your writing.