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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.

  • Playing football is fun.

  • Now the same rule applies

  • for gerunds and gerund phrases.

  • When gerunds are the subject,

  • they take the singular form of the verb.

  • Waiting for the bus is annoying.

  • But

  • when they're linked by "and"

  • they also take the plural form.

  • Meeting friends after work

  • and going to the beach

  • are my favourite things about living here.

  • Okay, so what about group nouns?

  • Single nouns that are actually

  • groups of people or things.

  • Club,

  • team,

  • company,

  • family,

  • crowd,

  • class.

  • They can be either singular or plural,

  • depending on the meaning of an individual sentence.

  • This is because they can describe

  • the individuals in the group

  • and since there's more than one,

  • it must be plural.

  • But it's also possible to use these nouns

  • as a single group

  • when you're referring to the group as a whole.

  • Then they're singular.

  • So they can be a little tricky!

  • For example.

  • The team is organising the event.

  • So this is referring to just the single unit,

  • it's a singular noun.

  • So we need to use the singular verb.

  • The team are meeting today.

  • So the members of the club are meeting together.

  • Using the plural form of the verb.

  • The teams are meeting today.

  • So when used plurally,

  • this means that there are

  • many of the individual group nouns.

  • There are more than one team

  • or family or a club.

  • And don't forget that some nouns

  • look like plural nouns

  • but they take a singular form.

  • For example, news.

  • It seems plural because of the S

  • but we need to treat it as a singular noun.

  • You need a singular verb.

  • The news is interesting.

  • Of course, any uncountable noun is treated this way too.

  • So don't say the furnitures are comfortable.

  • Say the furniture is comfortable.

  • Okay let's keep going!

  • We're getting a little more complex now.

  • Sometimes

  • the subject is tricky to find in English sentences.

  • It's not always before the noun.

  • Subjects and verbs change positions

  • in English questions

  • so you need to make sure you identify

  • which is the subject

  • before you choose the verb form.

  • What are the steps we need to follow?

  • In this sentence, "the steps" are the subject

  • and the verb is "are"

  • because it's plural.

  • There are many plants in your garden.

  • There is a plant in the bathroom.

  • Look at this sentence.

  • The car, which belongs to my brother,

  • is not very clean.

  • Relative clauses can make it difficult

  • to locate the subject and the verb.

  • Noun phrases also make this difficult,

  • where a group of words act as a noun.

  • The new features of the car are impressive.

  • "The features" are the subject.

  • It's plural, so it needs a plural verb

  • The more complex that your sentence becomes,

  • the harder you need to look for the subject and the verb

  • and make sure that they agree.

  • That was exhausting, wasn't it?

  • You might need to go for a walk now

  • to let all of that sink in or watch again.