Lesson 2: Subject-Verb Agreement

Getting Started

Today you will start reviewing some words that often cause confusion. You'll also review how to make sure that subjects and verbs agree, especially in cases where the subject and verb are separated or the subject is an indefinite pronoun.

Stuff You Need

  • The Only Grammar & Style Workbook You'll Ever Need by Susan Thurman
  • The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need by Susan Thurman

Ideas to Think About

  • How can understanding grammar improve your writing?
  • Why do subject-verb agreement errors sometimes occur?

Things to Know

  • If a subject and verb are separated by one or more prepositional phrases or adjective clauses, pretend those phases or clauses aren't there and try to match the subject and verb.
  • The subject of a verb is never located in a prepositional phrase.
  • These indefinite pronouns are always singular: all that begin in "some," "no," or "any" and end in "-thing," "-body," or "-one" (like anything, somebody, or everyone), each, either, neither, other, another, much.
  • The indefinite pronouns both, few, many, and several are always plural.
  • These pronouns can be either singular or plural: all, any, most, none, and some. Look at the prepositional phrase that follows the word to determine whether the word the pronoun refers to is singular or plural.
  • Compound subjects joined by "and" take a plural verb. For subjects joined by "or" or "nor," use the subject closest to the verb to match to the verb.


  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. (LA)
  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. (LA)
  • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to/too/two; there/their). (LA)
  • Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy). (LA)
  • Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson, students begin their study of commonly confused words. They will review 4-5 word groups in most lessons. This study will continue into the second-semester grammar unit as well. This lesson also covers common subject-verb agreement problems. Students should continue reviewing the parts of speech terms from Lesson 1.