Verbs and Pronoun Review for Police Officer Exam Study Guide
Verbs are the action words of sentences. They tell the reader what the subject of the sentence (generally a noun) is doing, did, or will do. For instance, in the simple sentence Suzzane likes Tom, "Suzanne" is the subject (the doer of the action), "likes" is the verb (the action), and "Tom" is the object (the recipient of the action). As sentences get longer and the ideas they express become more complex, so do issues surrounding how the verb is used and which formed a verb you need to use. The following sections on verbs provide a refresher in basic verb usage.
In written language, a subject must agree with its verb in number. In other words, if a subject is singular, the erb must be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. If you are unsure whether a verb is singular or plural, apply this simple test. Fill in the blanks in the two sentences below with the matching form of the verb. The verb form that best completes the first sentence is singular. The verb form that best completes the second sentence is plural.
One person _____. [Singular]
Two people _____. [Plural]
Look at these examples using the verbs speak and do. Try it yourself with any verb that confuses you.
One person speaks. One person does. Two people speak. Two people do.
Few people have trouble matching noun subjects and verbs, but pronouns are sometimes difficult for even the most sophisticated writers. Some pronouns are always singular, others are always plural, and still others can be either singular or plural, depending on the usage.
These pronouns are always singular:
- no one
The indefinite pronouns each, either, and neither are most often misused. You can avoid a mismatch by mentally adding the word one after the pronoun and removing the other words between the pronoun and the verb. Look at the following examples.
Each of the officers wants his own squad car.
Each one wants his own squad car.
Either of the suspects knows where the stolen merchandise is located.
Either one knows where the stolen merchandise is located.
These sentences may sound awkward because many speakers misuse these pronouns, and you are probably used to hearing them used incorrectly. Despite that, the substitution trick (inserting one for the words following the pronoun) will help you avoid this mistake.
Some pronouns are always plural and require a plural verb:
both many few several
Other pronouns can be either singular or plural:
all none any some most
The words or prepositional phrases following these pronouns determine whether they are singular or plural. If what follows the pronoun is plural, the verb must be plural. If what follows is singular, the verb must be singular.
- All of the work is finished.
- All of the jobs are finished.
- Is any of the pizza left?
- Are any of the pieces of pizza left?
- None of the time was wasted.
- None of the minutes were wasted.
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