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Subjects and verbs getting along?

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in Admins,Office Management

Subject-verb agreement means you pair singular subjects with singular verbs and plural subjects with plural verbs. Basic subject-verb agreement comes naturally for most native English speakers, but certain combinations can trip up even seasoned writers. Some tips:

Identify the subject and the verb. Remember that the verb is the action word and the subject is the word that does the action. For example, in the sentence “The dog sleeps on the floor,” “the dog” is the subject and “sleeps” is the verb.

Decide if your subject is singular or plural. In the above example, “the dog” is singular, so it’s used with the singular verb “sleeps.” It’s incorrect—and sounds weird—to say “The dog sleep on the floor” or “The dogs sleeps on the floor.” These are examples of improper subject-verb agreement.

The subjects “each,” “everyone,” “everybody,” “nobody” and “someone” are all singular. These words are commonly mistaken for plural words. Consider the sentence “Each of the dogs sleeps on the floor.” “Each” is singular, so it takes the singular verb “sleeps.” Notice that the words “-body” and “-one” are singular and use that to remind yourself to use singular verbs.

Singular subjects joined by “and” use plural verbs. For example, “The dog and the cat sleep on the floor.” There are two animals sleeping on the floor, so we use the plural verb “sleep.”

“Team” is singular; “team members” is plural. For example, you would say “The team chooses a mascot” or “The team members choose a mascot.”

— Adapted from “Grammar Rules: Subject-Verb Agreement,” Melissa Donovan, Writing Forward.

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