Grammar Exercises: Mastering Subject-Verb Agreement

As a writer or anyone dealing with language, you know that subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar. A well-constructed sentence demands that the subject and verb match in number and person. Lapses in this area can cause confusion or, worse, dilute the message you intend to send. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do to train your mind and overcome the challenge of subject-verb agreement.

Here are some exercises that can help you improve your subject-verb agreement skills:

1. Identify the subject and verb in a sentence.

Before you can match the subject and verb, you have to identify them. One method of doing this is to separate the subject-verb pair from the sentence and build around them. For instance, in the sentence, "The cat lounges on the couch," the subject is "cat," and the verb is "lounges." You can rearrange this pair to say, "The cat lounges" or "Lounge the cat on the couch." Once you can locate the subject and verb, move to the next step.

2. Make sure the subject and verb agree in number.

The number refers to whether the subject is singular or plural. Singular subjects take singular verbs while plural subjects take plural verbs. For instance, "The cat lounges" is a singular subject matched with a singular verb. But, "The cats lounge" is a plural subject matched with a plural verb. To practice this, start with simple sentences and work your way up to complex ones.

3. Match the subject and verb in person.

In grammar, person refers to the first, second, or third person. First person refers to the speaker, second person to the listener, and third person to someone or something else. The subject agrees with the verb according to its person, e.g., "I run," "You run," "He runs." To exercise this, write sentences using different persons and ensure that the verb matches each subject.

4. Use proper verb tenses.

Aside from number and person, the verb must also match the tense of the subject. This is where past, present, and future tenses come in. For example, "I will run," "I run," "I ran." Choose a tense and create sentences that use it to match different subjects.

By performing these exercises, you can hone your subject-verb agreement skills and write grammatically correct sentences with ease. Remember, a consistent subject-verb agreement is essential in writing, and the best way to achieve it is through consistent practice.