1. 1. Identify all VERBS.  (Test sentence: “I can ___.”  OR “I ___.”)


  1. Check for any prepositions; cross out any prepositional phrases. Subjects are never in prepositional phrases.


Common prepositions:

about               because of       except             of                     toward

above              before             for                   on                    under

across              behind             from                onto                 until

after                below              in                     over                 up

among             beside              in spite of        past                 upon

around             between          into                  through           with

as                     by                    like                  till                    without

at                     during              near                 to


  1. Identify all REAL SUBJECTS. (Test question: “Who/What does the verb? “Who/What ___?”)


  1. For each subject-verb pair, check if the SUBJECT is singular or plural.

[Verbs are underlined; subjects are boxed.]


            à Substitute the word “IT” in place of a SINGULAR SUBJECT.

      “It” was late.


            à Substitute the word “THEY” in place of a PLURAL SUBJECT.

      “They” was late.


  1. Now check the match between the substitute SUBJECT (“IT”/”THEY”) and the VERB.


            Does the “it” + VERB match?


            Does the “they” + VERB match?       

To correct the S-V error, change either the SUBJECT or

VERB so that the pair matches.




Problem Areas




Underline the verbs and box the real subjects in each sentence; then use the Steps to determine whether the sentence contains any subject-verb agreement errors. If a sentence contains an error, highlight the error. Corrections are in brackets [].


                Car insurance rates are most fairly determined by a person’s age, sex, and area of residence. An older person need[s] to have lower rates than a younger person because he has more maturity and are[is] less likely to have an accident. Insurance rates need to be based on sex because of certain characteristics that men and women drivers has[have]. The area in which a person resides would also affect insurance rates, since there is[are] certain places where a car is in more danger of being damaged or stolen.