Subject-Verb Agreement

In this lesson, students select the correct verb to compose an acceptable sentence.

Goals

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will select the correct verb on the smart board, to construct acceptable sentences.

This lesson hinges on the idea of agreement - the way that a verb must match the Subject of a sentence. For many students, this will be intuitive. For others, particularly speakers of regional varieties of English, this will not be intuitive. 

The first step is to practise selecting the appropriate verb in the Activity pages in the right hand menu. Each slide presents a sentence with a slot for a Subject and a verb.

After you've worked through some examples, start to make a list: what do you notice about all of the verb options? For lexical verbs, each verb can take an -s suffix, or not. For be verbs, the choices given are is, am, and are. Make a list of which Subjects appear with which verbs. 

Students should begin to see that the -s suffix appears with he, she, and it as Subjects. That is, it appears with third person Subjects that are singular. Is, am, and are attach to Subjects with different person and number as well. 

Recognising this pattern explicitly will help students who don't intuitively know the correct answer. For many students, I was is part of a non-standard regional way of speaking. That's fine in some contexts (at home, on the playground), but not in others (in the classroom, or at a job interview). It's important to explore these distinctions, and to help students learn to switch from one variety, and one register, to another. The National Curriculum calls for students to learn about standard and non-standard elements of English - learning about both can help students understand each one more completely.

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Subject-Verb Agreement: 'Be' verbs

Telephones
are
is
am
really weird.

I
are
is
am
going to speak very honestly.

There
are
is
am
four matches in June.

We
are
is
am
students!

You
are
is
am
being so funny.

That
are
is
am
correct.

What
are
is
am
happening?

I
are
is
am
totally sure.

Money
are
is
am
being spent.

I
are
is
am
smarter than Einstein.

That
are
is
am
lovely chocolate.

We
are
is
am
learning another lesson.

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Subject-Verb Agreement: Lexical verbs

I
think
thinks
so.

That
sound
sounds
exciting.

People
come
comes
to help.

She
want
wants
to perform.

You
study
studies
dance.

I
teach
teaches
dance.

You
forget
forgets
how difficult it is.

That
worry
worries
me a little.

He
arrive
arrives
in the morning.

We
go
goes
for a walk.

He
know
knows
it's his mum.

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