Tag Archives: plural subject

The Most Common Grammar Mistake


The most common grammar mistake involves the ability to count. Fortunately, you only have to be able to count higher than 1.

If I write, “A man buys a house,” you can count the number of men: 1.
If I write, “Men buy houses,” you need to count higher than 1 because this sentence describes more than 1 man.

Now, let’s look at these two samples more carefully.

In the first sentence, “A man buys a house,” the subject is 1 man, described as “a man.” The verb “buys” ends with the letter “s.” When we conjugate verbs in the present tense, we can see that verbs for the third person singular end with the letter “s.”

First person, singular subject: “I buy.”
Second person, singular subject: “You buy.”
Third person, singular subject: “He buys.” (Notice the “s” at the end of the verb. It will be important in a moment.)  Continue reading

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Subject–Verb Agreement


The basics of subject–verb agreement. The number of the subject determines the number of the verb. In other words, if the subject is plural, the verb, too, must be appropriate for plural subjects. Table 1 lists sample singular and subject verbs.

Table 1: Sample Singular and Plural Subjects

Singular

Plural

cat

cats

I

we

John

John and Bob

flower

flowers

Subject–Verb agreement causes problems only in the present tense. Unlike verbs in other tenses (e.g., past tense, future tense), present tense verbs change according to whether the subject is singular or plural. Continue reading

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