Subject-Verb Agreement Rule 2
- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
Students will apply subject-verb agreement rules to their writing.
- LCD projector (optional)
- Laptop computer (optional)
- Subject-Verb Agreement Rule 2 Presentation (PDF) (optional)
- Subject-Verb Agreement Rule 3 Presentation (PDF) (optional)
- Subject-Verb Agreement Rule Worksheet (see below for directions)
Set Up and Prepare
Set up the SVA Rule 2 and Rule 3 presentations or write the following notes on chart paper for students to view: EXCEPTIONS TO THE SVA RULE The following words always take the singular form of the verb.
- Indefinite Pronouns - Words that end with "body," "one," and "thing." (ex. Everyone, anything, everybody)
Prepare a worksheet in order for students to independently practice applying this rule. For this worksheet, format your sentences similar to those in the guided practice below. Be sure to leave space for students to explain why each answer is correct according to the SVA rule.
- As a review of subject-verb agreement rule 1 (singular subject takes a singular verb and vice versa), have students complete the following as a warm up activity:
Select the form of the verb that agrees with the subject in each sentence.
My brother and sisters (is, are) planning a surprise party for my mother.
Hey! That present (belong, belongs) to me!
Terry (has, have) a passing grade in Math.
- Next, explain the indefinite pronoun and each, either, neither exception to the SVA rule. Provide students with the following examples:
Neither of my computers is working.
Each of the athletes plays good enough to go to the NFL.
Everybody that graduates from our high school attends college.
- Then, guide students through practicing the application of this rule.
Each of you (has, have) to pass the final exam.
Neither of Tina's friends (start, starts) rumors.
Everything (get, gets) thrown in the closet when Pedro cleans his room.
Anyone who (want, wants) to audition for the play is permitted.
- Lastly, distribute the independent practice worksheet and have students complete. Be sure to require students to explain why their choice is correct based on this SVA rule.
Supporting All Learners
Create two versions of your independent practice worksheet. One version should contain more complex sentences for your on level to advanced students. The other version should contain more simplistic sentences such as those examples in the directions above.
- Most adolescents are extremely competitive. Because of this, you might want to try creating a short SVA version of Jeopardy! that assesses this rule. All that you need to do is draw the Jeopardy! game screen containing the dollar amounts and categories (this can also be done electronically if you have a LCD projector). Your only two categories will be SVA Rule 1 and SVA Rule 2. Then, simply create sentences leaving out the verb and instruct students to complete the sentence with a present tense verb that makes sense and agrees with the subject. For example:
Student: "SVA Rule 2 for $200 please"
Teacher: "Each of the cars ____________ a new engine and new tires."
Student: "What is needs?"
- Review this SVA rule. Then assign an activity where students must apply the SVA rule in context as opposed to applying the rule to separate sentences. This can by done by first selecting 2 paragraphs from a newspaper article or student textbook. Re-type those paragraphs leaving blank spaces in the places where verbs appear. The students must then fill in the blank with an appropriate verb that agrees with the subject in that particular sentence.
It would be a fun activity to have students test their parent or older sibling on the rules of subject-verb agreement. What students should realize is that they will probably not remember these rules for the rest of their lives. However, by continuously practicing applying the rules, choosing the correct verb will eventually become second nature and they won't have to think about the rules as they write.
- Create a second worksheet containing sentence sets (exactly like the independent practice) and have students select the grammatically correct sentence in each set and explain why their choice is correct based on the subject-verb agreement rule.
- Create a worksheet containing 15 sentences. In each sentence, give students the option of choosing between a verb that agrees with the subject and a verb that disagrees with the subject. (ex. Neither of the gang members (wish/wishes) to end up in jail.)
Review completed student assignments. If the worksheets show a consistent misunderstanding of this SVA rule, re-teach the rule.
Collect students' independent practice worksheets and assess their ability to apply this SVA rule.