Subject Verb Agreement Rules & Exercises (English Grammar)

Language Focus: Subject-Verb-Agreement

English Level: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Worksheet Downloadsubject-verb-agreement-worksheet.docx

If the subject of a sentence (e.g. “I”) doesn’t match the verb (e.g. “are”), we say that the subject 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), the verb has an ‘s‘. 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.

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

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

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

    that was so helpful for me

  2. Annappoorani (Posted on 10-29-2018 at 08:02) Reply

    It is very much easy to learn in this way. Thanks a lot

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

      Pay attention to the use of singular and plural

  3. rooney (Posted on 11-7-2018 at 09:06) Reply

    very interesting and helpful

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

    A very complete exercise

  5. bree bree (Posted on 12-13-2018 at 05:36) Reply

    neither my brother nor my sister ( own ) a bicycle.
    the answer should be owns, right?

    1. MB (Posted on 12-13-2018 at 12:40) Reply

      You’re correct. Thanks! I’ve changed it.

      1. bree bree (Posted on 12-14-2018 at 04:28) Reply

        no prob. =)

      2. ankit kumar (Posted on 1-11-2020 at 03:47) Reply

        yes bro

      3. Patricis (Posted on 2-25-2020 at 21:28) Reply

        Advanced No. 2. Surely ‘spend’ and ‘was/were’ are not correct

        1. MB (Posted on 2-26-2020 at 01:36) Reply

          You’re right. Spend should be spent. Thanks.

    2. Anonymous (Posted on 7-17-2019 at 15:13) Reply

      Yh,bro,the answer is (Owns)

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

      I guess it should be owns

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

    Thank you very much that very helpful.
    Appreciated your work.

  7. feena (Posted on 1-29-2019 at 06:05) Reply

    much appreciated.

  8. Anonymous (Posted on 2-12-2019 at 23:53) Reply

    PADD This was very helpful. Thanks.

  9. Anadi Agrawal (Posted on 2-28-2019 at 05:01) Reply

    It’s very helpful . Thank you so much.

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

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

  11. abhinav chamoli (Posted on 5-21-2019 at 07:46) Reply

    it is fun and easy.

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

    Thanks a lot…hopefully it helps in my exam.

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

    Thanks alot
    This was very helpful
    I loved the exercises

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

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

  15. Ajay Yadav (Posted on 6-30-2019 at 07:34) Reply

    Very useful tq

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

    thanks a lot I enjoy the exercise very much

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

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

  18. danice (Posted on 8-6-2019 at 04:26) Reply

    exuse me ihave a question
    if the teacherchange the question above

  19. danice (Posted on 8-6-2019 at 04:29) Reply teacher (be).

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 8-6-2019 at 13:50) Reply

      My teacher _is_ young.

      1. Dave (Posted on 10-16-2019 at 01:46) Reply

        Me either. Can I get her number bro? XD

  20. alyssa (Posted on 8-14-2019 at 19:21) Reply

    very helpful ! thanks

  21. Angelo (Posted on 10-16-2019 at 01:44) Reply

    This is very helpful! Thank you!

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

    It is fun and you can learn a lot about gramar

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

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

  24. Anonymous (Posted on 1-20-2020 at 04:33) Reply

    this is a good work

  25. FERDS (Posted on 1-27-2020 at 01:25) Reply


  26. Philip (Posted on 4-15-2020 at 12:21) Reply

    Last item. Shouldn’t it be a plural verb? How useful ‘are’ this website AND many other free ones for studying English?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 4-15-2020 at 13:36) Reply

      Hello. Though it seems really strange to put ‘are THIS’ (since this refers to a singular noun), you are right. This mistake has been there for a long time. Good eye!

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

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

  28. Akshat Sharma (Posted on 5-18-2020 at 03:27) Reply

    very useful for me

  29. DANILO C. (Posted on 6-12-2020 at 01:12) Reply

    really good

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

    really a awesome exercise. I don’t have anything to say . but reality it is very much good exercise. nice exercise it is very helpful and thankful for me . I have understand very well. thankyou very very much . again thanks…………………………………………………

  31. Rosy (Posted on 7-9-2020 at 04:38) Reply

    Thanks for your help !

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

    thank you for the excercise

  33. 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

  34. Niki (Posted on 8-3-2020 at 03:36) Reply

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

  35. Karthikeyan (Posted on 8-28-2020 at 12:05) Reply

    One of the best site which i have seen!!! Thanks !!

  36. 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? :)

  37. 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.

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

    Very improve my grammar! Recommended apps

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