Can We Agree on Subject-Verb Agreement?

Subject-verb agreement is among the pesky points that trouble upper level students. It’s easy enough to choose a singular or plural verb when the subject is clearly singular or plural. No one will argue, for example, that “a teacher” is plural and “many teachers” is singular. But advanced students are a capable of expressing complex ideas, and subjects such as “politics” and “the President along with his advisers” raise doubts. To be truthful, we teachers can have doubts too. I can certainly admit this.

I plan to address some of the trickier questions about subject-verb agreement in a YouTube video. There are a number of ways to extend learning into the classroom.

My Subject Verb Agreement_handout could serve as a pre-lesson or post-lesson check. Have students work alone or in pairs. Correct and discuss the answer choices.

A short writing activity would be useful after covering key patterns. Have students write shorts answers to one or more of the following questions, exchange papers, and then peer edit while referring to the handout.
1. Is there more than one solution to heavy traffic in big cities?
2. Is it fair to say that all politicians are corrupt?
3. Do you agree that no school subject is more important than all the others?
4. Neither physics nor foreign languages are easy, but which subject is easier for you?
5. Which do you prefer, living in the center of town or living on the outskirts?

Got an activity to practice subject-verb agreement? Feel free to share!


Photo credit: Bag, Leather, Goods, Accessories by geralt. Retrieved from the Public Domain at


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