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What is Subject-Verb Agreement?
Students will be able to build sentences in which the subject and verb agree.
- Write a simple sentence on the board (e.g. The dog buries a bone.)
- Ask students who or what is doing an action in this sentence (e.g. the dog).
- Underline the word dog and explain that this is the subject of the sentence. Explain that the subject is the person, place, or thing that is doing something. Remind students that there may be other nouns in a sentence, but only the one doing the action is the subject.
- Then, ask students to identify the action in the sentence (i.e. what the dog is doing).
- Circle the word buries and explain that this is the verb. Remind students that a verb is a word that describes an action or state of being.
- Write the definitions of subject and verb on the board for student reference.
- Write several more sentences on the board, and invite students to come underline the subject and circle the verb in each sentence. (Examples: My cats chase mice. The kid runs home. Ants always eat my cookies.)
Explicit instruction/Teacher modeling(5 minutes)
- Tell students that there are certain grammar rules we have to follow when we write a sentence.
- Explain that subject-verb agreement is when the subject of the sentence and the verb in the sentence agree in number.
- On a sheet of chart paper, use a red pen to write: A singular subject goes with a singular verb.
- Remind students that singular means one.
- On the chart paper, write an example sentence with a singular subject and verb (e.g. The teacher helps me.) Underline the subject and circle the verb.
- Explain that either the subject or verb will have an 's' at the end. Point out that if the subject is singular (like one teacher) the verb gets the 's'.
- On the chart paper, use a blue pen to write: A plural subject goes with a plural verb.
- Remind students that plural means more than one.
- On the chart paper, write an example sentence with a plural subject and verb (i.e. Two teachers help me.) Underline the subject and circle the verb.
- Point out that in this example with a plural subject (teachers), the subject gets the 's' at the end.
Guided practice/Interactive modeling(10 minutes)
- Using a document camera, display the It's Grammar Time: Subject-Verb Agreement 1 worksheet and review the example.
- Read the first sentence aloud and underline the subject—plane. (Tip: Cover the other sentences with a sheet of paper so that only the one you are working on is visible.)
- Explain, "We know that plane is singular because there is not an 's' at the end. That means there is only one plane."
- Tell students that since there is not an 's' at the end of plane, the coordinating singular verb will have an 's'.
- Circle the word travels and remind students that this is the verb that agrees with the singular subject plane.
- Write the correct verb on the line and read the completed sentence aloud.
- Repeat by guiding students through sentence number two as a model.
- Complete five more examples with the class, inviting student volunteers to choose the correct verb and explain their reasoning.
- Have students discuss and complete the remaining sentences with an elbow partner, writing their answers in a notebook or on a sheet of scratch paper.
- After the worksheet is completed, explain that the 's' rule is an easy guideline to help us with subject-verb agreement. Tell students that even tricky words, like everyone, will generally stick to this rule. Even though the word everyone refers to more than one person, it is considered a singular subject because it doesn't have an 's' at the end.
- Write an example on the board using the word everyone (i.e. Everyone loves pizza.) Underline the subject and circle the verb.
- Point out that this example follows the rule because the subject doesn't end with 's', and the verb does.
Independent working time(10 minutes)
- Hand out the It's Grammar Time: Subject-Verb Agreement 2 worksheet.
- Have students complete the worksheet independently.
- Circulate and offer support as needed.
- Complete some examples on the second worksheet before having students work independently.
- Offer students additional practice with another worksheet in the series, such as the It's Grammar Time: Subject-Verb Agreement 3 worksheet.
- Use this and other subject-verb agreement lesson plans to reinforce struggling students' understanding of grammar, such as the Link Up! A Subject-Verb Agreement Game lesson plan.
- Have students read a piece of text (such as the How the Camel Got His Hump worksheet) and identify five examples of subject-verb agreement as they read, underlining the subject and circling the corresponding verb.
- This lesson plan can be followed up with a lesson on prepositional phrases to build on student understanding of grammar, such as the Get Down with Prepositional Phrases lesson plan.
- On the board, write a sentence with a blank where the verb should be (i.e. The llamas ____ hay.) Verbally give students two options for the verb that should be in the blank (e.g. eat, eats) and have students write their choice on a personal whiteboard.
- Instruct students to hold up their answers as you check for understanding.
- Repeat with several sentences, alternating between missing subjects and missing verbs.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask students to think about what would happen if the subject and verb didn't agree.
- Give some examples of incorrect sentences (e.g. The dogs chases the cat.)
- Explain that subject-verb agreement is important because without it a sentence can be confusing. To communicate clearly in English, we must follow grammatical rules like this one.
- Have students think about other grammatical rules they know that help them communicate clearly (e.g. verb tense).