In order to better understand subject/verb agreement, it is important to understand the essential or main parts of a sentence.
Essentially, a sentence can be broken down into two parts:
- The subject – what you talk about.
- The predicate – what you say about the subject.
Each subject must contain a noun, and each predicate must contain a verb.
The noun and the verb are the two most important part of the sentence – and they are essential to a sentence. Aside from exclamations, a sentence can rarely be formed without a noun and a verb.
The subject and the predicate are the two main parts of a sentence.
The noun is the main part of the subject, and the verb is the main part of predicate.
The above sentences are really simple sentences. They consist of just one subject and one predicate. That is, one simple subject and one simple predicate. The subject is a noun and the predicate is a verb.
We can add to the subject, and we can also add to the predicate of a sentence.
Two cows walk quickly.
Three dogs bark loudly.
In the above examples, we have extended our sentence by adding modifying words to both our subject and predicate.
Nevertheless, our bare subject is essentially the noun “cows,” and the bare predicate is essentially the verb “walk.”
The bare subject “cow” must agree in “number” with the verb “walk.”
Nouns form their plural by taking up an “s.” But verbs form their plural by dropping an “s.”
Therefore, if we take the singular form of the subject, we must take the singular form of the verb, and if we take the plural form of the subject, we must take the plural form of the verb.
- Cows walk.
- Cow walks.
Related: Like water to beverages, some parts of speech are essential to sentences.