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When to Add "s" to a Verb

English TipIf you feel confident about forming plurals in English by adding an s or es at the end of the word, Iím about to make you feel a little wobbly. Although most noun plurals are formed this way, verb plurals are formed by removing the s.

For example, which verb is plural, talk or talks? Because you would say, "He talks," talks is the singular verb. You would say, "They talk." Therefore, talk is the plural verb.

Example: The position listed on the university Web site caught my attention because my education, experience, and training closely parallel/parallels your needs.

Answer: This sentence has two sets of subjects and verbs. The first subject/verb combination is position/caught. The second set of subjects is education, experience, and training, which is plural. We would say, "They parallel" so we must write or say, "Ömy education, experience, and training closely parallel your needs."

Example: If he or she needs/need me, I will be in the other room.

Answer: In this sentence, he and she are the subjects; however, they are connected by or so we use the singular verb needs.

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Pop Quiz

Choose the correct verb in each sentence below. Scroll down to view answers.

1. When he and Jenny walks/walk to work, they hold hands.
2. They leaves/leave at the end of the year for a month-long vacation.
3. Her dog, cat, and chicken gets/get along well together.
4. When he gets/get angry, his face turns red.
5. She goes/go away every August.

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Thank you to alert E-Newsletter reader Holly P. who noticed an error in the Subject and Verb Agreement Bonus Quiz in our E-Newsletter of September 20, 2011. Holly noticed that, while the answers were correct, the explanations for the answers to questions 3 and 10 should have been reversed. The error has been corrected.

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Pop Quiz Answers

1. walk (plural)
2. leave (plural)
3. get (plural)
4. gets (singular)
5. goes (singular)


A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it's two tired.

A calendarís days are numbered.


68 One-Minute English Usage Videos

English In A Snap: 68 One-Minute English Usage Videos FREE 

Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.


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