Subject Verb Agreement Rules & Exercises (English Grammar)

Language Focus: Subject-Verb-Agreement

English Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Worksheet Downloadsubject-verb-agreement-worksheet.docx

Exercises: here

If the subject of a sentence (e.g. “I”) doesn’t match the verb (e.g. “are”), we say that the subject and the verb don’t agree. In other words, you have a subject-verb-agreement mistake (SVA), which is a common mistake for English language learners.

I are happy. (= the subject and verb do not agree)
I am happy. (= the subject and the verb agree)

I made the above worksheet for my college students in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program. Students, you can do the practice exercises below.

A Review of Subject Verb Agreement Rules

In English, if the subject of a verb is the third-person singular (He/She/It), then the verb will have an ‘s‘ at its end. Here’s an example with the verb like:

  • I like it. (First person singular)
  • You like it. (Second person singular)
  • He likes it / She likes it / It likes it. (Third person singular)
  • We like it. (First person plural)
  • They like it. (First person plural)
  • You like it. (First person plural)

This is the rule for all verbs (jump/walk/read/etc).

Exception: BE

With the BE Verb, the first person singular is changed to ‘am‘ (present) and ‘was‘ (past), and the third person singular becomes ‘is‘ (present)’ and ‘was‘ (past). See the table below.

BE – presentBE – past
  • I am here. (First person singular)
  • You are here. (Second person singular)
  • He is here / She is here / It is here. (Third person singular)
  • We are here. (First person plural)
  • They are here. (Second person plural)
  • You are here. (Third person plural)
  • I was here. (First person singular)
  • You were here. (Second person singular)
  • He was here / She was here / It was here. (Third person singular)
  • We were here. (First person plural)
  • They were here. (First person plural)
  • You were here. (First person plural)

Singular & Plural?

A singular noun is just one thing. It is a single thing. Here are singular nouns in the third person:

  • A dog (is …)
  • A candle (burns …)
  • The boy  (has…)
  • The world  (turns…)

Uncountable nouns also use the same verbs as singular nouns. For example:

  • Love (is…)
  • Wine (tastes…)
  • The water in the lake (feels…)

A plural noun is more than one thing. These plural subjects are the same as “They”.

  • Dogs (are…)
  • Two candles (burn…)
  • The boys (have…)
  • People (live…)

Two singular nouns connected by AND makes a plural subject.

  • The man and the woman live here. (The man + the woman = they)
  • The reason she came here and the reason I came here are different. (two reasons = they)

Advanced Rules with Subject Verb Agreement

Here are some hints for the advanced exercises:

1. The closest word to the verb is not always the subject.

  • The leader of the students has long hair.

The head noun of the phrase is “The leader.” The prepositional phrase “of the students” modifies the subject. The full subject is The leader of the students. Is subject singular or plural? It’s singular (one), and the third person (the leader = she/he).

  • The bird in the trees was beautiful.

Similarly, the subject is the bird in the trees. This is one thing, so the verb will be ‘was’, not ‘were’.

  • The man who bought a hundred houses is rich.

Again, the subject is ‘The man (who bought a hundred houses)‘. To find the subject, just look at the verb and ask yourself (what) is rich? The answer is the man (not the houses) is rich.

2. In inverted sentences, the verb agrees with the noun that comes after it.

An inverted sentence is when the subject comes after the verb. For example:

  • There is a problem. (verb = is , singular subject = a problem)
  • Here are your glasses. (verb = are, plural subject = your glasses)
  • Now comes the difficult part. (verb = comes, singular subject = the difficult part)
  • How important are the price, location, and size? (verb = are, plural subjects = price/location/size)

3. Everyone/Someone/Anyone/No one/etc are singular subjects.

Everyone refers to every single person. These subjects agree with a verb in the third-person singular form.

  • Everyone is hungry.
  • Somebody lives here.

4. Phrases in parentheses () or between commas are not part of the subject.

  • The man, in addition to his daughter, lives here. (subject = the man)
  • The man (in addition to his daughter) lives here. (subject = the man)
A lesson on subject verb agreement

The house, which has several windows, is in the countryside.

There are several other rules as well that are not listed above. Try the exercises below and if you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Subject Verb Agreement Exercises

Subject Verb Agreement – Beginner

  1. My teacher  funny. He  to tell jokes. I think his jokes  funny, and my friends .  Most of the students in my class  boys. There  not many girls in my school who  my age. It  weird. My friend  a girlfriend. My parents always  me if I have a girlfriend, by my answer  always “No.”

  

Subject Verb Agreement – Intermediate

  1. Everyone  problems in life. Countries also  problems, and so  the world. One of the greatest problems  the growing population. The population in some countries  huge. Both India and China  populations of over one billion people.  Both  growing, too.
  2. A few of my friends  cars. One of my friends  rich. Much of his money  from his parents. His parents  three companies that  products. I don’t know what kind of products the companies  with or who their customers .

  

Subject Verb Agreement – Advanced

  1. A number of my friends  riding bicycles, but neither my brother nor my sister  a bicycle. At 4 o’clock, either my mother or father  coming to pick me up (in a car).
  2. The pair of shoes on the floor  mine. The shoes  made in Italy. The 300 dollars I spent on them  worth it.
  3. Finding a job where you can learn new skills  a lot of effort. I have been looking for six months. Six months  a long time. Not even one company that I applied to  responded.

  

 

  1. A lot of chicken  eaten in America. As a consequence, a lot of chickens  raised on farms. I know this because I study agriculture and economics. In fact, economics  my favourite subject. I think that it, along with agriculture,  fascinating.
  2. A photograph of two children  on the desk. Outside, there  people and a cat on the street. Sitting on the roof of a building  a big crow.
  3. How useful this website and many other free ones for studying English  ! This website (which I think is better than some others)  founded in 2011.

  

Find a mistake? Have a question? Leave a comment below.

Grammarly helps with punctuation.

Englishcurrent.com endorses Grammarly as a learning tool.

— Subject Verb Agreement Worksheet & Exercises created by Matthew Barton (copyright) of Englishcurrent.com

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56 comments on “Subject Verb Agreement Rules & Exercises (English Grammar)

  1. kamar (Posted on 8-17-2018 at 09:04) Reply

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    1. Peta gay Townsend (Posted on 3-9-2021 at 09:08) Reply

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  3. Austre Salinas (Posted on 11-17-2018 at 14:58) Reply

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  4. Srijana (Posted on 12-14-2018 at 16:33) Reply

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  5. umadevi.R (Posted on 5-17-2019 at 11:41) Reply

    Very great….Nice exercises..Thank you for such a wonderful website…

  6. abhinav chamoli (Posted on 5-21-2019 at 07:51) Reply

    Thanks a lot…hopefully it helps in my exam.

  7. Anonymous (Posted on 6-19-2019 at 05:58) Reply

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    1. Aryan Sharma (Posted on 7-3-2021 at 02:50) Reply

      Thanks very much for this helpful exercises

  8. Siraj (Posted on 6-28-2019 at 03:51) Reply

    I started with advance and still didn’t have a single mistake

  9. top chery (Posted on 7-10-2019 at 15:07) Reply

    thanks a lot I enjoy the exercise very much

  10. Reagan (Posted on 7-17-2019 at 15:12) Reply

    Oh my God!,please continue to teach us ,it is very ,very GOOD,THANKS!!

  11. kunal ,malhotra (Posted on 8-10-2019 at 07:05) Reply

    I guess it should be owns

  12. Anonymous (Posted on 12-4-2019 at 20:10) Reply

    It is fun and you can learn a lot about gramar

  13. Ali Mansoor (Posted on 12-10-2019 at 06:30) Reply

    Undoubtedly, very helpful to over come atleast insensible grammar mistakes.

  14. Christine (Posted on 3-23-2020 at 04:21) Reply

    Pay attention to the use of singular and plural

  15. NA (Posted on 5-4-2020 at 03:30) Reply

    Very useful! Apparently now this is teaching standard. My teacher show this to us

  16. mehak (Posted on 6-14-2020 at 01:38) Reply

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  17. Shaurya Mittal (Posted on 7-22-2020 at 08:24) Reply

    thank you for the excercise

  18. Niki (Posted on 8-3-2020 at 03:35) Reply

    It was very helpful for me
    I just want to check how much l have learnt and l am very happy that all the answers are correct

  19. Anonymous (Posted on 9-21-2020 at 09:57) Reply

    A lot of chickens—— are is the answer. Though I cannot understand that how can we write are with a loy.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 9-21-2020 at 12:43) Reply

      With quantifiers that indicate portion, such as ‘a lot, a majority, some, all‘ the verb will agree with the noun that comes after the quantifier. This is why we say ‘a lot of people have’ and not ‘a lot of people has’. English is fun, isn’t it? :)

  20. Anonymous (Posted on 10-14-2020 at 07:23) Reply

    it was good. it really helped me a lot. it made me correct my previous mistakes.

    1. Rishita Kabasi (From anonymouse) (Posted on 10-29-2020 at 19:28) Reply

      Yes it helped to correct the mistakes, but it pointed out the mistakes, making it very easy to change the answers.
      Yours Sincerely,
      Rishita (From Anonymous)

    2. Danica Ala (Posted on 11-15-2020 at 17:50) Reply

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  21. Muhammad Zulhakim bin Yusri (Posted on 10-15-2020 at 00:12) Reply

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  22. Rishita Kabasi (Posted on 10-29-2020 at 19:19) Reply

    Your right, but I never passed any of the tests, I mean, I maked at least one mistake in the question answers.
    Yours truly,
    Rishita :)

  23. MERCADO, LIZA C. (Posted on 11-14-2020 at 21:21) Reply

    Thank you for helping us to enhance our skills in English.

  24. Dalawampu Jhanille (Posted on 11-15-2020 at 02:37) Reply

    The was not that easy but also its that hard to answer. I would say that I improved may gramar.

  25. Jiezyl Cantos Bagnes (Posted on 11-15-2020 at 03:37) Reply

    Its easy but i have some mistakes. More practice and study to me. Hehe

  26. Albert M Samadan (Posted on 11-15-2020 at 16:27) Reply

    I would say that this quiz is that hard for me, because I know proper verb to be use. For me to be able to answer if it is “is” ar “are” , “w/s” or ” without s”. I looked at the noun if it is plural or singular also if it is present or past. I know to my self that identifying the write word not easy because there’s things I didn’t know.

  27. John Carlo Logos (Posted on 11-15-2020 at 17:29) Reply

    I have enjoyed answering. Nice exercise.

  28. Shekinah Camalig (Posted on 11-16-2020 at 19:50) Reply

    This exercises are not easy but I know this will have a big help for me to enhance my skills in English.

  29. Princess C. Dava (Posted on 11-17-2020 at 17:39) Reply

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  30. Roxann Rea (Posted on 11-17-2020 at 17:39) Reply

    This quiz really made me think critically. There are some choices that made me think that it is correct but it was not. It test my skills in construction of sentences.

  31. Camella A. Villacruel (Posted on 11-17-2020 at 22:28) Reply

    I can say that this quiz is hard but it is also a big help for me to develop my skills in constructing sentences.

  32. Mary Grace Briguela (Posted on 11-18-2020 at 05:44) Reply

    These exercises help me to improve my skills in that kind of activity. Thank you

  33. De Villa Naiza L. (Posted on 11-19-2020 at 00:20) Reply

    This exercise is a useful one to enhance our english grammar capability and it helps me to think critically. I enjoyed answering. Thank you

  34. Kyla Marie (Posted on 11-20-2020 at 22:58) Reply

    Nice exercises. I enjoyed answering it. It helps me to improve my grammar. thank you

  35. Kathleen (Posted on 11-21-2020 at 04:18) Reply

    Those exercises are fun to answer. It is so useful for me to improve my grammar more.

  36. Charlie (Posted on 11-21-2020 at 21:20) Reply

    These exercises really tested my knowlegde
    about SVA.It was nice and very beneficial.I enjoyed answering it.

  37. MOHAMMAD TAHA (Posted on 11-22-2020 at 05:50) Reply

    These exercises help a lot to THANK YOU SO MUCH for these please make more if possible.

  38. balpreet kaur (Posted on 11-23-2020 at 09:18) Reply

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  39. maheen (Posted on 11-24-2020 at 23:24) Reply

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  40. Andimmatus S (Posted on 12-10-2020 at 06:36) Reply

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  41. Anonymous (Posted on 1-13-2021 at 02:59) Reply

    Nice Quiz :)

  42. Sunil (Posted on 2-3-2021 at 21:59) Reply

    Very nice excercise

  43. Henok (Posted on 3-9-2021 at 01:29) Reply

    it was a very good test ,thanks………..

  44. Ruth A. Ramos (Posted on 4-9-2021 at 23:52) Reply

    My brain squeezed a little bit.Confusing but it is useful and challenging.I love it.

  45. Rose (Posted on 4-10-2021 at 00:05) Reply

    It was a good diagnostic test, it really helps me a lot to read and understand the sentence. Thank you and Godbless

  46. Phearom (Posted on 5-11-2021 at 19:25) Reply

    can you please give more exercises on your page ? Thank you!

  47. Allen Sam Sipolo (Posted on 5-15-2021 at 07:12) Reply

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  48. Anonymous (Posted on 5-21-2021 at 22:50) Reply

    1.The writing of good essays need/needs creativity.

  49. Himanshu Sharma (Posted on 8-26-2021 at 10:29) Reply

    I makes 2-3 mistakes in every subject verb agreement as beginner, intermidiate or Advance.
    I think, I have to be practice more.

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