Subject and Verb Agreement
The subject and verb must agree in number: both must be singular, or both must be plural. Problems occur in the present tense because one must add an -s or -es at the end of the verb when the subjects or the entity performing the action is a singular third person: he, she, it, or words for which these pronouns could substitute.
Notice the difference between singular and plural forms in the following examples:
The student sings. (He or she sings)
Your children sing. (They sing)
The bird does migrate. (It does)
Those birds do migrate. (They do)
In order to find out if your subject and verb agree, you need to be able to identify the subject of your sentence. Here are some helpful hints that will help you to decipher where your subject is and where it is not.
The Supreme Court judge decides the appropriate penalty.
The committee members were satisfied with the resolution.
Over the ripples glides a small canoe.
Subject: a small canoe
There was a well-known writer at the meeting.
Subject: a well-known writer
The group of students is going on a field trip.
Subject: the group
MP: of students
The survey covering seven colleges reveals a growth in enrollment.
Subject: the survey
MP: covering seven colleges
The speaker whom you saw at the lecture is one of the state senators from
Subject: the speaker
MP: whom you saw at the lecture
The quarterback and the coach are having a conference.
Subject: the quarterback and the coach
Verb: are having
Either the actors or the director is at fault.
Subjects: actors, director
Either the director or the actors are at fault.
Subjects: director, actors
The sales manager is a good researcher who spends a great amount of time surfing the Web for information.
Subject: the sales manager
Verbs: is, spends
Sales managers are good researchers who spend a great amount of time surfing the Web for information.
Subject: sales managers
Verbs: are, spend
Anyone who wants to pursue higher education has to pass entrance exams.
Verbs: wants, has
Everyone on the committee is welcome to express his/her ideas.
The jury is sequestered.
The jury are having an argument.
Verb: are having
The news of the discovery is spreading.
The mass media have publicized the facts.
Subject: mass media
Verb: have publicized
The data amaze everyone.
Try this exercise by clicking on this link.