Business Writing Tip #195—Subject-Verb Agreement

subject-verb agreementOne thing most people know about English is that the verbs need to agree with the subjects. Agreement is the grammatical match between words and phrases.

One of the main forms of agreement is subject-verb agreement and making sure your subjects and verbs agree will help you create a strong, professional impression with your business writing.

Subjects can be either singular or plural, and the verbs must agree in number with the subject.

That is, a singular subject goes together with a singular verb form, and a plural subject belongs with a plural verb form.

Regular Verbs

The pattern for regular verbs is predictable. The third person singular (he, she, it) adds an ‘s’ to the verb. Other forms do not end in ‘s’.

  Singular Form Plural Form
First Person I decide. We decide.
Second Person You decide. You decide.
Third Person He/She/It decides. They decide.

 

When it comes to spelling there is one thing you need to remember.

If the verb ends in –sh, -z, -ch or –s you need to add –es, rather than just –s.

For example:

  • I finish, she finishes.
  • You watch, he watches.
  • I fix the photocopier. The technician fixes the photocopier.

Irregular Verbs

English has many irregular verbs. Some of the most common are be, have and do.

 

Be Singular Form Plural Form
First Person I am. We are.
Second Person You are. You are.
Third Person He/She/It is. They are.

 

Have Singular Form Plural Form
First Person I have. We have.
Second Person You have. You have.
Third Person He/She/It has. They have.

 

Do Singular Form Plural Form
First Person I do. We do.
Second Person You do. You do.
Third Person He/She/It does. They do.

In the next post we will look at some of the common reasons errors occur.

Happy writing.

 

2 thoughts on “Business Writing Tip #195—Subject-Verb Agreement

  1. Thank you.
    I found this useful.
    I am looking for one-on-one writing course. Can you advice me on where to go or who to contact.
    Thank you

    • Hi Hana,
      I’m glad you found it useful. What kind of writing are you doing? Did you want in-person lessons, or online?
      Kind regards,
      Dalice

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