Grammar For Writers: Subject Verb Agreement | Kassandra Flamouri | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Grammar For Writers: Subject Verb Agreement

teacher avatar Kassandra Flamouri, Grammar Nerd Extraordinaire

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (10m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Identifying the Verb

    • 3. Identifying the Subject

    • 4. Putting It Together

    • 5. Project

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this class, you'll learn to identify and correct one of the most common grammar mistakes: improper subject verb agreement. In theory, the rule is very simple...if you have a singular subject, you need a singular verb. Plural subject, plural verb. Easy enough, right? Well, not always. It can get pretty sticky when you have multiple nouns in your sentence, so join us and learn how to navigate it all.

For more information about me and my work you can visit me at my website,

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kassandra Flamouri

Grammar Nerd Extraordinaire


Hello, I'm Kassandra. I'm an SAT and college essay tutor...which continues to shock me after eight years of teaching. Turns out the SAT is a whole lot less terrible when you're paid to do it (go figure). Plus, I get to talk about reading and writing! A lot! I'm here to share what I know and love in the hopes that it will help other writers grow in their craft and become not just better writers but better editors and critique partners. And, like many (dare I say most?) on this site, I'm here to learn!

See full profile

Related Skills

Writing Creative Agreements

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: welcome to the first class in the grammar for writer Siri's I'm Cassandra Flummery, your instructor. I'm an author, musician and most importantly for our purposes here, a tutor I've often heard it said, kind of nastily that everyone thinks they know grammar, but they don't. Well, let me assure you that I do actually understand our lovely grammar rules not to toot my own horn or anything. But I had a perfect for herbal s a T score, and I have spent the last eight years tutoring high school students in critical reading, math and, of course, grammar. I also recently landed a book deal, which is pretty exciting. If you're interested in finding out more about my work as an author or if you're looking for tutoring services, you can check out the websites listed here in the series of grammar tutorials. We're going to focus on the sort of big ticket items that will make the most impact on your works in progress and make you a better writer, editor and critique partner. The emphasis here is on utility, not terminology. You don't have to know that this word is a participle where that word is a gerund. So hopefully, by cutting out the fancy grammar jargon, we could make these rules a little more clear and accessible in this first grammar class will learn how to fix a very common mistake and proper subject verb agreement. I'll see you in the next video, where we'll learn how to correctly identify the verb of the sentence and avoid some common running pitfalls. 2. Identifying the Verb: The first step to checking for proper subject verb agreement is to find the verb, which is a word used to describe in action, state or occurrence. Let's start with a couple of simple examples. The cat sat on the hat. What action is taken place here? Sat so sad is our verb. Verbs Describing physical actions like the verb sat are usually easiest to identify more abstract verbs, maybe a little bit harder. The verb, like in the second example, isn't a physical action, but it is a verb. So let's try the third example. What actions are occurring, as you may have already guessed are verbs are chased and catch now. The previous examples were pretty simple and easy to identify. It can and will get harder, especially because there are some words out there that look like verbs but are not, in fact, verbs. First, be aware of the I N G words. If you want to learn more about them, you can look up present participles and Garon's. But for our purposes here, the names don't matter. What you need to know is that words ending in i n g are not by themselves verbs. They need helping verbs like Is our have been etcetera in order to describe in action state or occurrence as a verb does. Let's look at the first example, the witch flying on her broomstick flying kind of looks like a verb, but the which hasn't actually done anything here Flying is acting like an adjectives. It's describing the witch, which witch? The witch flying on her broomstick. But if we add a helping verb now, in action occurs the which is flying on her broomstick. Similarly, in the second example, sitting is not actually a verb. No one's done anything in Our second example, Loves is the verb, and sitting is really acting like a now. What is the cat love sitting on hats? Our second fake out category is comprised of E, G or N words thes air called past participles. But again, the technical names don't matter for our purposes. Let's look at the first example. Goblins born without tails Born, is acting like an adjective describing goblins. If we wanted to turn born into a real verb, we would need a helping verb like we saw before. We could say goblins are born without tails or we could keep born as an adjective and add a new verb goblins born without tails, so them on Later. Now let's look at the next example. The E D. Words are especially tricky because they can act as verbs or adjectives, Since brewed could be a verb in the past tense, you need to look at who are what is performing the action to see if it makes sense as a verb or an adjective. In our example, the potion brewed by the witch. The potion certainly didn't brew anything, so we know that here it's acting like an adjective describing the potion. We could add a helping verb and say the potion was brewed by the witch. Or we could keep it as an adjective and add a new verb, the potion brewed by the, which was a nasty one indeed. 3. Identifying the Subject: The second step in our quest for proper subject verb agreement is to find the subject, which is the non performing the action or in the state of being described by the birth. Let's start with the same easy examples we used in the previous video. The cat sat on the hat because cats like to sit on things. I have to verbs here, So let's take them one at a time. What sat on the hat? The cat. So the cat is our subject and what likes to sit on things? Cats like to sit on things. Therefore, the known cats is our second subject. Same thing for our second example with the dog. But note here that I have one subject for two verbs. The dog chased the cat but didn't catch her. The dog is the subject for both chased and catch. You can think of the subject as the most important now kind of the star of the show. Take the example given here, for instance, the witch flying on her broomstick which was made of you soared over the treetops. We have several now is to choose from here. But there are clues we can use to start narrowing down our options. Notice that we have a phrase surrounded by comments. These comments are acting basically like parentheses, which means the rest of the sentence has to make sense without the information inside. Since you can't have a sentence without a subject, anything inside those commas is out of the running for the subject. So now we're left with the witch flying on her broomstick soared over the treetops. So who saw it over the tree tops the witch flying on her broomstick. But we still have to now owns which and broomstick. The start here, the one soaring over the treetops is the witch Broomstick is part of the phrase describing the subject, not the subject itself. When we talk about the star of the show, it's important to remember that we need the grammatical star of the show. In the last example, the star was pretty obviously the witch, but sometimes the most important, down dramatically and what seems like the most important now in terms of information or content are not always the same. Look at our example here. The existence of goblins born without tails was a revelation to goblin ologists everywhere . Remember, First we find a verb. Then let's start narrowing down our options for the subject. In the phrase, the existence of goblins without tails we have three now is to choose from tales, goblins and existence. Now here it the Goblin seem like the star of the show. But Godwin's isn't actually the subject. Let's look at why beginning with the non Tales Tales is part of a larger phrase. Goblins born without tails. So it kind of gets filed under goblins and goblins is part of the larger phrase, the existence of goblins so goblins gets filed under existence. Existence, though, doesn't belong to anything else. Doesn't get father's under anything else. So even though it seems like kind of an unimportant word, it's actually the subject is at the top of the grammatical heat. In all of our previous examples and the first example listed here, the subject appeared before the verb. But sentences aren't always constructed that way. To check, find the verb first and then ask yourself a question. In the second example, there are two questions we can ask. What was a part of gold? It was buried beneath the rainbow, buried beneath the rainbow doesn't sound much like a person place or thing. It sounds like a description. So let's ask another question. What was buried beneath the rainbow? A pot of gold, which doesn't look a thing. So that's our subject, even though it comes after the verb from there, you can use the filing system meant that we used before to find your real subject. 4. Putting It Together : now that we've isolated the subject and verb, we're ready for Step three, putting it all together now. The rule here is that the subject and verb have to agree. They have to be both singular or both plural. But if you're having trouble recognising whether one or the other is singular or plural, we can try to rely on our ears. First, identify the verb and then the subject, as we learned to Dio, then put them together and see if they sound right. So here, in our first example, we grab our verb, are soaring and are subject the witch and put them together. The which are soaring know the which is soaring. Let's look at our second example. A reverb were plus, are subject existence. The existence were nope, the existence waas So we want the existence of goblins born without tails was a raise, a revelation to goblin ologists everywhere. Note here that if you only look at the now next to the verb, the incorrect version sounds right and the first example we see cats are, And in the second example, tales were This is why it's so critical that you take the time to be sure of what the subject really is now. Sometimes when you're overthinking things, or if the subject isn't announed that you used often in real conversation, you might get stuck on whether it sounds right. If you're having trouble, try using a pronoun. If the subject is singular, use it. If it's plural used a. That should really clear up, which verbs sounds right. 5. Project : Now it's time for your class project. What we're going to do is pick one of our works in progress and edit for subject verb agreement. As you look through your writing, identify five or six sentences with subject verb agreement, mistakes and right out both the original sentences and the corrected versions for your class project for bonus points or, if you can't find any subject for agreement mistakes, pick five sentences to break down. Using the methods discussed in this video, be sure to show how you found your subject. Star of the show Using you The filing system method. If you found this class helpful, be sure to follow my instructor account so you could be notified when new classes are available. Thank you all for joining this class, and I hope to see you again next time