Chapter 5

Agreement: Choosing Singular or Plural Verbs and Pronouns


check Making singular or plural subjects match verbs

check Ensuring that pronouns match the words they refer to in number and gender

In Grammarland, the difference between singular (just one) and plural (anywhere from two to a crowd) is a big deal. In this respect grammar follows real life. When an obstetrician reports on an ultrasound, the difference between one and more than one is a matter of considerable interest. In this chapter I show you how to tell the difference between the singular and plural forms of subjects, verbs, and pronouns and explain how to pair them up correctly.

Meeting Their Match: Pairing Subjects and Verbs

To make a good match, as every online-dating service knows, you have to pair like with like. So too in grammar: With two important exceptions (explained in this section), singular subjects pair with singular verbs and plural subjects with plural verbs — a principle that grammarians call agreement. First, I take you though the basics of subject-verb agreement. Then I hit you with some tricky subject-verb situations and some deceptive subjects.

testalert Sentences with mismatched subjects and ...

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