The English language is defined primarily by its grammar and parts of speech. The verb is a vital part of speech and along with the noun, another vital part, is an indispensable component of the language. This High English quiz is the first of three on the subject of subject and verb agreement with singular, plural or uncountable nouns.
A verb is an action word and it follows logically that there must be a subject to perform the action, or on whom the action is performed. The subject is referred to by a noun or its pronoun, and when there are two or more nouns in a sentence the subject noun has to be identified. Nouns can be in singular or plural form and nouns can also be countable or uncountable. We need to identify the status of a noun so as to place it appropriately in a sentence.
If in a sentence we are using ‘pen’ we know that pen is a countable noun because it is singular and our sentence concerning the pen will be matching the singular status of the noun. This means that we also look at the verb in the sentence and match the verb to the subject. On the other hand, if we are using ‘pens’ we know that pens is a countable noun and is plural and our sentence changes primarily by the use of an appropriate verb. These two sentences depict the differences where the subject ‘pen’ and ‘pens’ are associated with different verbs:
‘My pen does not write.’
‘My pens do not write.’
Such a relationship between the subject and verb is known as a subject-verb agreement, and it is an important part of grammar.
Often, we make mistakes in using appropriate verbs as we may be making a mistake in identifying the character of a noun. Once we identify the noun it becomes easier to use the appropriate verb. This quiz, and the next four that follow, will take us through the nuances of subject-verb agreement rules and help to improve your grammar.