Matching the verb to the subject

Learning focus

To make sure the subject of a sentence matches the verb correctly.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you find the subject of a sentence and to check the verb matches it
  • four activities

Learn

The verb in a sentence is the word that shows action or being.

The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that's doing the action, or being something.

For example:

Maya kicks the ball.

In this sentence, the subject is Maya and the verb is kicks.

Watch this video to hear teacher Mrs Shaukat explain more about matching the subject to the verb in a sentence.

Top tip!

  • When the subject and the verb match, we say they agree.

When the subject of a sentence is singular, that means there is only one person or thing doing the action or being something.

You need to choose a singular form of the verb to match the singular subject.

Look at the table below to see how play is used with different subjects. Most verbs follow the same pattern as this verb.

Singular (one person or thing)Plural (more than one person or thing)
I playwe play
you playyou play
she, he, it playsthey play

Look at the verb next to ‘she, he, it’ in the table: plays. This has the letter s at the end.

When you are writing about one person or thing doing an action, (to talk about 'she', 'he' or 'it' only) your verb should end with the letter s.

For example:

  • The girl plays basketball every weekend.
  • This radio station plays great music!

When the subject of a sentence is plural, that means more than one person or thing is doing the action or being something. In this case, you need to choose a plural form of the verb to match the plural subject.

For example:

  • The boys play hockey every weekend.

Watch this video now for a recap on how verbs are used in sentences. This will help you to prepare more for the activities on subjects and verbs later in this lesson.

Practise

You will need a pen or pencil and some paper for these activities.

Activity 1

First, have a go at this fun quiz to test your understanding so far!

Click on the correct word each time to identify the subject or the verb.

Activity 2

Think back to what Mrs Shaukat explained in the Teacher Talk video about using am, is and are. These are all from the verb be.

Watch again from the beginning up to 1:30 if you need a quick recap.

Look at the table below that shows the verb be being used with the subjects you met earlier in the lesson.

Singular (one person or thing)Plural (more than one person or thing)
I amwe are
you areyou are
she, he, it isthey are

Sometimes we use am, is or are with another word that ends in –ing.

For example:

I am working on the tower.

The crane is working on the tower.

They are working on the tower.

Copy out each of the sentences below and choose am, is or are to fill the gaps.

Make the verb agree with the subject by adding the right word. One has been done for you.

1. The gorilla-monster is climbing higher and higher.

2. Down in the street, the people ___ pointing up at the gorilla-monster.

3. I ___ pointing up at the gorilla-monster too!

4. The builders ___ yelling at each other.

5. The plane ___ flying around the tower.

6. 'I ___ roaring!' roars the gorilla-monster.

You can check your answer in this answers sheet.

Activity 3

So far, you have looked at verbs in the present tense – this is when something is happening now, or regularly.

When you're using the past tense, for things that have already happened, the verbs was and were can be used. These are also from the verb be and are matched to a subject, like am, is and are.

Singular (one person or thing)Plural (more than one person or thing)
I waswe were
you wereyou were
she, he, it wasthey were

Test your understanding of using was and were correctly with this next quiz!

Choose the right option each time to fill in the gaps in the sentences.

Activity 4

Think back to the second video you watched.

A TV news reporter sees the gorilla-monster but he’s so scared, he gets his verbs mixed up!

Look at his report below. You need to find all the incorrect verbs and re-write them, so that they agree with their subjects.

For example:

'It were an ordinary day on the building site' contains an incorrect verb.

This should be 'It was an ordinary day on the building site'.

There are 17 other verb mistakes to find!

It were an ordinary day on the building site. The builders was working hard on a new tower. Suddenly, a huge gorilla-monster were climbing up it!

I are standing in the street right now. And all around me, people is pointing up at the gorilla-monster.

The gorilla-monster are nearly at the top. One of the builders yell at us to stay back. The other builders hides.

Cars, buses and trucks all stands still in the street. We all waits, silent and afraid.

The gorilla-monster sit on top of the tower. It wave its hairy arms. It eat the bricks.

The tower shake and shudder.

No one know what will happen next. But I can hears the gorilla-monster roaring and I are terrified!

Top tip!

  • Once you’ve finished spotting the verb mistakes, read the sentences out loud with your corrections – do they sound right and make sense?
  • Look back over the Learn section again if you need a recap on matching subjects and verbs correctly.

You can check your answer in this answers sheet.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learned how to make sure the subject of a sentence matches the verb correctly.

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Matching the verbs to the subject