Hello, I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!
One of the most common grammar mistakes
that English learners make
is to do with the subject verb agreement.
It's as simple as it sounds!
The subject and the verb in English sentences
They must match.
We go to the beach on Saturdays.
If the subject is plural,
you need to use a plural verb form.
He goes to the beach on Saturdays.
The subject is singular,
so you need to use a singular verb form.
And this is true, most of the time!
Now, you might be thinking that you
understand subject verb agreement.
It's simple, it's easy, right?
But it's the first thing that many English learners forget!
But don't worry, there are some simple
standard rules that you can use to help you.
But some aspects of singular and plural noun usage
make this a little more complex.
So that's why I'm going to teach you some tips
to master subject verb agreement in English.
Before we start,
I want to highlight that there are two main areas
where subject verb agreement can cause you problems.
The first is in your writing.
And it's important to know
the subject verb agreement rules
and how to use them correctly
so that your English writing is grammatically correct.
The other is your speaking skills.
Now, perhaps you feel confident that you know
how to match verbs to their subject
but the challenge is making that clear
when you're speaking.
you might not even know this is a problem for you.
The final consonant sounds are so important
to communicating clearly.
But for many English learners,
it's not that easy to do.
Pronouncing the difference between do and does.
Now if this sounds like you,
then I want you to try and practise with me
out loud during this lesson.
Make sure you're hitting those final consonant sounds.
In the present tense,
nouns and verbs agree
in opposite ways.
When your subject is plural,
you usually add S to show that it's plural, right?
Car becomes cars.
Baby becomes babies.
But when your subject is plural,
you do not add an S to your verb.
The cars look expensive.
Our noun, cars,
Now our verb agrees with our subject.
The cars look expensive.
Now compare this to:
The car looks expensive.
When our noun is singular,
our verb needs to include an S.
In these examples,
the noun and the verb agree in opposite ways.
But I can already hear you saying
"What about if your subject is I or you?
They're singular subjects
but they don't use the singular verb form."
but they're an exception to the rule.
Subject verb agreement rules are different
when your subject is in the third-person singular.
So that's when your subject is a he,
a she or an it.
The subjects I and you are different.
Even though they're also singular nouns,
they take the plural form of the verb
and you just need to remember that.
I like to go swimming.
She likes to go swimming.
Both of these subjects are singular
but the verb forms are different.
if there is an auxiliary verb,
a helping verb,
in your sentence
like do or does
in the present simple
or am, is, are, was, were in the continuous tenses
or have or has
in the perfect tenses
you need to think about your subject verb agreement
because the auxiliary verb
becomes the agreeing verb,
the verb that agrees with the subject.
The dogs don't want it.
The dog doesn't want it.
We're going to the beach.
He is going to the beach.
Anna and Tony have been driving for hours.
Anna has been driving for hours.
Now modal verbs
like may, could, will, must, should,
they're also auxiliary verbs.
They help the main verb in the sentence
but the subject verb agreement rules are different
with modal auxiliary verbs.
The verb following a modal verb
is never in the S form.
It's always in the infinitive form.
My friends might come.
My friend might come.
Not my friend might comes.
You should come.
He should come.
Not he should comes.
Now, English sentences are not always this simple,
As you add more information to your sentences,
they become more complex
and it might be difficult to know whether your noun is
singular or plural.
But just remember that the same structure
and rules apply.
But you need to pay close attention
to where your subject is
and if it's singular or plural
because your verb must always match the subject
regardless of the words
that come in between
the verb and the subject.
It must always match.
Do you know what an indefinite pronoun is?
They're words like
Usually indefinite pronouns
take singular verbs.
Everybody wants to be loved.
Nobody likes to be left out.
Now the subject of English sentences
can be a little more complicated
with compound subjects.
Group nouns and relative clauses.
Look at this sentence.
My mum is happy for me.
My mum and dad are proud of me.
Two singular subjects
joined by "and"
means that your subject becomes plural
and now your verb needs to show this.
It's the same as saying that
they are proud of me.
So we can say that
two or more singular subjects
joined with "and"
become a plural subject
and they need a plural verb.
Now look at this sentence.
Peter or Paul is coming.
Now in this sentence,
the two singular subjects
are treated as a singular subject
because "or" gives us an option.
We're not saying both.
It's one singular noun or the other.
Not both of them together.
We would say
Peter and Paul are coming.
Peter or Paul is coming.
Playing football is fun.
Now the same rule applies
for gerunds and gerund phrases.
When gerunds are the subject,
they take the singular form of the verb.
Waiting for the bus is annoying.
when they're linked by "and"
they also take the plural form.
Meeting friends after work
and going to the beach
are my favourite things about living here.
Okay, so what about group nouns?
Single nouns that are actually
groups of people or things.
They can be either singular or plural,
depending on the meaning of an individual sentence.
This is because they can describe
the individuals in the group
and since there's more than one,
it must be plural.
But it's also possible to use these nouns
as a single group
when you're referring to the group as a whole.
Then they're singular.
So they can be a little tricky!
The team is organising the event.
So this is referring to just the single unit,
it's a singular noun.
So we need to use the singular verb.
The team are meeting today.
So the members of the club are meeting together.
Using the plural form of the verb.
The teams are meeting today.
So when used plurally,
this means that there are
many of the individual group nouns.
There are more than one team
or family or a club.
And don't forget that some nouns
look like plural nouns
but they take a singular form.
For example, news.
It seems plural because of the S
but we need to treat it as a singular noun.
You need a singular verb.
The news is interesting.
Of course, any uncountable noun is treated this way too.
So don't say the furnitures are comfortable.
Say the furniture is comfortable.
Okay let's keep going!
We're getting a little more complex now.
the subject is tricky to find in English sentences.
It's not always before the noun.
Subjects and verbs change positions
in English questions
so you need to make sure you identify
which is the subject
before you choose the verb form.
What are the steps we need to follow?
In this sentence, "the steps" are the subject
and the verb is "are"
because it's plural.
There are many plants in your garden.
There is a plant in the bathroom.
Look at this sentence.
The car, which belongs to my brother,
is not very clean.
Relative clauses can make it difficult
to locate the subject and the verb.
Noun phrases also make this difficult,
where a group of words act as a noun.
The new features of the car are impressive.
"The features" are the subject.
It's plural, so it needs a plural verb
The more complex that your sentence becomes,
the harder you need to look for the subject and the verb
and make sure that they agree.
That was exhausting, wasn't it?
You might need to go for a walk now
to let all of that sink in or watch again.
I'm sure that some of this lesson
was good revision for you,
but perhaps you learned a few new things
about subject verb agreement, too.
I hope so!
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And keep watching this playlist!
This playlist here
will help you to practise your pronunciation
and learn more about silent letters in English.
And in this lesson, you'll be able to try out
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So I'll see you next week for another mmmEnglish lesson!
Bye for now!