Present Tense Subject Verb Agreement

Present Tense Subject Verb Agreement

English sentences and questions basically consist of subjects and verbs. It’s extremely important for ESL students to understand subject verb agreement. This means that the verb and subject correctly go together. Often the form of the verb will change depending on the subject. Here is a chart to help you understand present tense subject verb agreement.

Subject Pronouns Example Verbs
I / You / We / They do, go, eat, play, watch
He / She / It does, goes, eats, plays, watches

How to Make Verbs Agree

In general, add -s to the end of the verb for the third-person subjects, He / She / It. But for the subjects I / You / We / They, the verbs remain in the base form (no change).

Tricky parts

  1. Verbs that end in -ch, -o, -sh, -ss, -x, or -z, add -es for third person.
    • watch => watches
    • do => does
    • wash =>  washes
    • bless => blesses
    • fix => fixes
    • buzz => buzzes
  2. Verbs that end in a consonant + y, change the -y to -i and add -es.
    • study => studies
    • marry => marries
    • cry => cries
    • study => studies
    • worry => worries
  3. Verbs that end in a vowel + y, simply add -s.
    • play => plays
    • stay => stays
    • destroy => destroys

Work it out

Let’s see if you got it. Fill in the blanks with the verb that agrees with the subject.

  1. Everyday, I ______ sandwiches for lunch. (eat)
  2. Today, she _________ to the beach with her friends. (go)
  3. Sometimes, my two cats ____________ TV with me at night. (watch)
  4. Every afternoon, it ________ during the Summer. (rain)

Answers at the bottom.

Cats watching TV

Answers

  1. Everyday, eat sandwiches for lunch. (*I = base verb.)
  2. Today, she goes to the beach with her friends. (*she = add -es.)
  3. Sometimes, my two cats watch TV with us at night. (*TWO cats = they. Sometimes, they watch TV.)
  4. Every afternoon, it rains during the Summer. (*rain is a regular verb, so just add -s.)