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Resources for English Teachers

Present Tense Subject and Verb Agreement Rules and Exercises

When are you supposed to use the present tense?  We use the Present Tense for the following:
  1. Activities or events occurring in the present.
  2. Summarizing pieces of writing, films, plays.
  3. Stating ongoing opinions, beliefs, habits, and facts.

An important rule to know is that in the present tense subjects and verbs have to agree in number.  That means that the verb will either have an s on the end of it or not, depending on the subject. Here is a simple formula:

Singular Subjects and Verbs

Subject (No S)                            +              Verb (+ S)
Singular                    
No s on the end (is not plural)                 Always ends in S
He/She/It                                                        (is, has)
                                                          (was = only past singular)

Plural Subjects and Verbs

Subject (+S)                                 +            Verb (No S)
Plural                    
Has s on the end (is plural)                      No S on the end
I/You/We/They                                              (have, are)
                                                          (were = only past plural)

Example:  
    (sing.)                  (sing.)            (plural)        (plural)
    Deborah Tannen (says) that women and men (talk) differently.     

Present Tense Exercise #1

Put the correct form of the present tense verb in parentheses in the blank following the subjects.

  1. (to consist) An Ironman competition                           of three parts.
  2. (to have)    My brother             a girlfriend.
  3. (to think)      She never             that people            they will treat her fairly. 
  4. (to recognize)  My  friend             that her father has problems with his anger management skills.
  5. (to hope) Many men                        to become professional athletes.   
  6. (to be:)  The stereotype          that athletes                          more likely to do poorly in school.    [Hint: is, am, are]
Present Tense Exercise #2

Find and underline the subjects and verbs in the following paragraph.  The verbs should all be in the present tense.  Correct the subject-verb agreement problems.

Dr. Miller state in her article that men and women is different emotionally and

 physically.  She believes that men avoids emotional issues, but women are more

 compassionate and sensitive.  Miller face the fact about the two different sexes.

 They acts and thinks very differently about ways of communication.  Women tends

 to looks at problems in several different ways but men looks at problems objectively

 only.  I knows that this point are quite true in the U.S. because the husband always

 talk about sports while the wife want to talk about relationships and feelings.  Men

 generally makes a lot of jokes and they likes to talk in public, but woman are much

 more serious and they hardly ever speaks in public.

 


English Department
Co-Chairpersons 
E-mail:Becky Roberts
Phone: 408.864.5764

E-mail: Lydia Hearn
Phone: 408.864.5785

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Last Updated: 11/10/09