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  • Hello, I'm Emma from mmmEnglish!

  • One of the most common grammar mistakes

  • that English learners make

  • is to do with the subject verb agreement.

  • What's that?

  • It's as simple as it sounds!

  • The subject and the verb in English sentences

  • must agree.

  • They must match.

  • We go to the beach on Saturdays.

  • If the subject is plural,

  • you need to use a plural verb form.

  • He goes to the beach on Saturdays.

  • He goes.

  • The subject is singular,

  • so you need to use a singular verb form.

  • And this is true, most of the time!

  • Now, you might be thinking that you

  • understand subject verb agreement.

  • It's simple, it's easy, right?

  • But it's the first thing that many English learners forget!

  • But don't worry, there are some simple

  • standard rules that you can use to help you.

  • But some aspects of singular and plural noun usage

  • make this a little more complex.

  • So that's why I'm going to teach you some tips

  • to master subject verb agreement in English.

  • Before we start,

  • I want to highlight that there are two main areas

  • where subject verb agreement can cause you problems.

  • The first is in your writing.

  • And it's important to know

  • the subject verb agreement rules

  • and how to use them correctly

  • so that your English writing is grammatically correct.

  • The other is your speaking skills.

  • Now, perhaps you feel confident that you know

  • how to match verbs to their subject

  • but the challenge is making that clear

  • when you're speaking.

  • And sometimes,

  • you might not even know this is a problem for you.

  • The final consonant sounds are so important

  • to communicating clearly.

  • But for many English learners,

  • it's not that easy to do.

  • Pronouncing the difference between do and does.

  • Now if this sounds like you,

  • then I want you to try and practise with me

  • out loud during this lesson.

  • Make sure you're hitting those final consonant sounds.

  • Okay?

  • Let's begin.

  • In the present tense,

  • nouns and verbs agree

  • in opposite ways.

  • When your subject is plural,

  • you usually add S to show that it's plural, right?

  • Car becomes cars.

  • Baby becomes babies.

  • But when your subject is plural,

  • you do not add an S to your verb.

  • The cars look expensive.

  • Our noun, cars,

  • is plural.

  • Cars.

  • Now our verb agrees with our subject.

  • The cars look expensive.

  • Now compare this to:

  • The car looks expensive.

  • When our noun is singular,

  • our verb needs to include an S.

  • In these examples,

  • the noun and the verb agree in opposite ways.

  • But I can already hear you saying

  • "What about if your subject is I or you?

  • They're singular subjects

  • but they don't use the singular verb form."

  • Yes,

  • but they're an exception to the rule.

  • Subject verb agreement rules are different

  • when your subject is in the third-person singular.

  • So that's when your subject is a he,

  • a she or an it.

  • The subjects I and you are different.

  • Even though they're also singular nouns,

  • they take the plural form of the verb

  • and you just need to remember that.

  • I like to go swimming.

  • She likes to go swimming.

  • Both of these subjects are singular

  • but the verb forms are different.

  • Now,

  • if there is an auxiliary verb,

  • a helping verb,

  • in your sentence

  • like do or does

  • in the present simple

  • or am, is, are, was, were in the continuous tenses

  • or have or has

  • in the perfect tenses

  • then,

  • you need to think about your subject verb agreement

  • because the auxiliary verb

  • becomes the agreeing verb,

  • the verb that agrees with the subject.

  • The dogs don't want it.

  • The dog doesn't want it.

  • We're going to the beach.

  • He is going to the beach.

  • Anna and Tony have been driving for hours.

  • Anna has been driving for hours.

  • Now modal verbs

  • like may, could, will, must, should,

  • they're also auxiliary verbs.

  • They help the main verb in the sentence

  • but the subject verb agreement rules are different

  • with modal auxiliary verbs.

  • The verb following a modal verb

  • is never in the S form.

  • It's always in the infinitive form.

  • My friends might come.

  • My friend might come.

  • Not my friend might comes.

  • You should come.

  • He should come.

  • Not he should comes.

  • Now, English sentences are not always this simple,

  • are they?

  • As you add more information to your sentences,

  • they become more complex

  • and it might be difficult to know whether your noun is

  • singular or plural.

  • But just remember that the same structure

  • and rules apply.

  • But you need to pay close attention

  • to where your subject is

  • and if it's singular or plural

  • because your verb must always match the subject

  • regardless of the words

  • that come in between

  • the verb and the subject.

  • It must always match.

  • Do you know what an indefinite pronoun is?

  • They're words like

  • everybody, nobody

  • anybody, someone.

  • Usually indefinite pronouns

  • take singular verbs.

  • Everybody wants to be loved.

  • Nobody likes to be left out.

  • Now the subject of English sentences

  • can be a little more complicated

  • with compound subjects.

  • Group nouns and relative clauses.

  • Look at this sentence.

  • My mum is happy for me.

  • My mum and dad are proud of me.

  • Two singular subjects

  • joined by "and"

  • means that your subject becomes plural

  • and now your verb needs to show this.

  • It's the same as saying that

  • they are proud of me.

  • So we can say that

  • two or more singular subjects

  • joined with "and"

  • become a plural subject

  • and they need a plural verb.

  • Now look at this sentence.

  • Peter or Paul is coming.

  • Now in this sentence,

  • the two singular subjects

  • are treated as a singular subject

  • because "or" gives us an option.

  • We're not saying both.

  • It's one singular noun or the other.

  • Not both of them together.

  • We would say

  • Peter and Paul are coming.

  • or

  • Peter or Paul is coming.