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Verbs


Rule 4:
Make subjects and verbs agree.
Agreement is simply a matter of deciding whether you're talking:

1. About one person (singular) or about more than one person (plural).
2. About ourselves (first person-I, we, etc.) or about the reader or listener (second person-you, your, etc.) or about someone else (third person-he, she, they, it, etc.).
3. About a woman, about a man, or about people or things in general, regardless of gender.

Once you've decided exactly whom or what you're talking about in relation to these three characteristics (number, person, and gender), you must make sure all parts of each sentence agree with (are consistent with) all other parts of the sentence. A verb changes form to sound right with its subject, depending on whether the subject is singular or plural and on whether it is first person, second person, or third person.

For example, notice how the verb write changes in these sentences, depending on the subject of each sentence:

• I write a department management report every week.
• She writes a department management report every week.
• They write a department management report every week.

Subject-verb agreement (or lack of agreement) is usually very easy to hear, although it is sometimes tricky with the same kinds of subjects. The following rules will help you handle some potentially confusing agreement situations.

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