Subject Verb Concord Trivia

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Juliette is a middle school English teacher at Sacred Heart of Greenwich, Connecticut. Juliette earned a BA in English/Language Arts Teacher Education from Elon University (2016-2020) and an MA in Teaching Writing from Johns Hopkins University (Apr 2023-Dec 2025). She holds a Classroom Teacher license from the Connecticut State Department of Education, obtained in July 2021. Juliette possesses strong skills in English language arts, writing, editing, and literature study. She has a deep passion for working with young people and contributing to the education of America's youth in the classroom.
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What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "One of my dogs ___ old."?

Answer: Is
The phrase "One of my dogs" highlights the selection of a single dog from a group. Here, "one" is the subject, and it is singular. Therefore, the verb must also be singular to agree with it. The construction "one of" is always followed by a plural noun ("dogs"), but the verb agreement is always with "one," which is singular, hence "is" is used. This grammatical rule ensures clarity in specifying that the statement applies to just one member of a group.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "Mathematics ____ my favorite subject."?

Answer: Is
The noun "Mathematics" might confuse some due to its plural ending. However, it is treated as a singular noun in the context of academic subjects. This rule applies to several academic subjects that end in 's' but are considered singular, such as economics, physics, and politics. Thus, the verb "is" correctly matches the singular subject, which is standard for stating preferences or facts about one’s academic interests.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "Some of the students  _____ angry because they did not pass."?

Answer: Were
The phrase "some of the students" suggests a plural subject, despite the singular form of "some." Here, "students" determines the plurality of the subject, guiding the verb choice. The verb "were" is the plural past form of "to be," matching the plural noun. This example highlights how quantifiers like "some" can influence verb agreement based on whether they imply one or multiple items or people.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "There ____ the president."?

Answer: Goes
This sentence uses an idiomatic expression where "There goes" is typically followed by a singular noun. "Goes" is the third-person singular form of "go," suitable for singular subjects like "the president." This structure is commonly used to denote movement or action observed at the moment of speaking, emphasizing immediate action.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "The boy with his friends ____ chocolate at the supermarket."?

Answer: Buys
Here, "the boy" is the main subject, and "with his friends" is a prepositional phrase that modifies the main subject but does not affect verb agreement. The verb "buys" remains singular to match "the boy." This illustrates how prepositional phrases add information but do not influence the basic subject-verb agreement.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "The teacher's clothes ____ out of fashion."?

Answer: Were
"Clothes" is inherently a plural noun; there is no singular form. Thus, the verb "were" is used to indicate that something was true in the past, aligning with the plural noun "clothes." This structure is essential for describing states or conditions pertaining to multiple items.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "McDonald's ____ an American fast food restaurant."?

Answer: Is
"McDonald's," referring to the company, is a singular noun. Despite ending in 's', it represents a single entity or brand, requiring the singular form "is" to describe its identity or characteristic. This distinction is crucial in business or brand names, which often appear plural but are grammatically singular.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "My friends ____ a lot of junk food."?

Answer: Eat
"Friends" is a straightforward plural subject, and "eat" is the base form of the verb used with plural subjects in the present tense. This sentence reflects routine or habitual actions, where the simple present tense is appropriate for describing regular behaviors.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "The United States _____ bordered by Canada and Mexico."?

Answer: Is
Although "The United States" sounds plural, it refers to a single country and is therefore treated as a singular noun in grammar. The verb "is" reflects this singular treatment, which is standard for geographical names that represent collective entities.

What would the correct subject-verb concord be: "There ____ a lot of money under the sofa."?

Answer: Is
"A lot of money" might sound plural, but "money" is an uncountable noun and is always treated as singular in English. Therefore, the verb "is" is used to indicate presence or existence. This example underscores the difference between countable and uncountable nouns in determining verb agreement.
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