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AGREEMENT: FINDING SUBJECTS AND VERBS AND MAKING THEM MATCH Mrs. Hernandez Intermediate English Lesson 2 WHAT IS A SUBJECT? A subject is the word or words in a sentence that tells who or what the sentence is about. Subjects in a sentence are NOUNS or PRONOUNS only. However, every noun and every pronoun in a sentence cannot be the subject of the sentence. There is a main noun or pronoun connected to the verb. This is your subject. It is possible to have more than one subject in a sentence. It is also possible to have an understood subject in a sentence. SUBJECTS AND VERBS As you recall, verbs show action or a state of being. Every true sentence needs at least one verb. The verb will always go hand in hand with the subject. To find the subject, ask what or who is doing something or what the sentence is about. To find the verb, ask what is being done or see what is connected to the subject. Subjects and verbs must agree in two things to be considered correct: person and number. PERSON AND NUMBER Person 1st (I) 2nd (You) 3rd (he, she, it, they) Number Singular Plural Remember to Make sure the verb agrees with the true subject, not the words between Use a plural verb if you have two or more subjects that are joined by AND If two or more subjects are joined by OR, chose the subject closest to the verb HOW TO USE COMPOUND SUBJECTS A compound subject includes two or more subjects separated by a joining word (conjunction). If two subjects are joined by and, it is considered plural and requires a plural verb. For example, Jennifer and Mary love chocolate. Jennifer and Mary are joined by “and” so they are a plural subject. “Love” is a plural verb. This matches. Just because there are two or more subjects DOES NOT mean that they will take a plural verb. Neither the roommates nor Mark loves chocolate. Neither Mark nor his roommates love chocolate. If you have a word like “or” or something that means one or the other, you use the subject closest to the verb to determine agreement. COLLECTIVE NOUNS AND INDEFINITE PRONOUNS You need to determine whether a subject is plural or singular to determine whether a verb needs to be. There are some subjects (nouns and pronouns) that can refer to many things that are treated in a singular way. Furthermore, titles are always singular. Sand/Gravel Class Army Team Anyone/anybody/anything Everyone/everybody/everything Gulliver’s Travels It is important to remember that not everything that ends in –s is Plural. Be careful! BEWARE THE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE Prepositional phrases add more to the sentence, but they can sometimes make it difficult to detect true subjects and verbs. Ex. A stream of cold air seeps in through the space below the door. Notice in the example that the subject is “stream.” There is a preposition between that and the verb “seeps.” Remember, the subject of a sentence is never going to be found in the prepositional phrase. PRONOUNS AND ANTECEDENTS Just like subjects and verbs have to match, so to pronouns and antecedents. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. The antecedent is the original noun that the pronoun replaced. Ex. The boy threw the stick to the dog, and the dog fetched it. (“It” is the pronoun; “stick” is the antecedent.) To find the antecedent for a pronoun, ask yourself what does the pronoun refer back to. Pronouns MUST match what they refer to in person, number, and gender.