SAT Writing : Identifying Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

My favorite history professor, as well as some of his administrative staff, were asked to resign because fewer students were taking history courses than ever before. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

than 

because

were

as well as

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb does not agree with the subject. The subject "professor" is singular (“as well as some of the administrative staff” is a modifying phrase and doesn’t count), so the correct verb form should be “was,” not “were.”

Example Question #1 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Stephanie claims that she wants to attend college after graduation, but her poor attitude about studying during senior year do not indicate that she enjoys being a student. No error

Possible Answers:

studying

No error

wants

to attend

do not indicate

Correct answer:

do not indicate

Explanation:

"Her poor attitude about studying" is the subject of this clause, so the verb must agree with the singular subject "attitude." Therefore, the correct verb should be "does"—her attitude "does not indicate."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

James is a proactive police officer, so although the local rebellious teenagers are annoyed by his strict nature, the overall safety of the town have improved drastically since he was hired. No error

Possible Answers:

so although

No error

have improved 

are annoyed

strict nature

Correct answer:

have improved 

Explanation:

This is an issue of subject-verb agreement within this independent clause: "the overall safety of the town have improved drastically since he was hired." Simplified, the subject is "safety," which is a singular noun, so the verb must also be singular, making "have improved" incorrect and "has improved" the corrected verb.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

A pair of supportive shoes are important if you are experiencing lower back pain. No error

Possible Answers:

are experiencing

you

supportive

are

No error

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

The verb "are" agrees with a plural subject, but the subject of this sentence is the singular "pair." Changing "are" to "is" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "A pair of supportive shoes is important if you are experiencing lower back pain."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The paralegal believed that there were an overload of cases in the office, which was creating stress. No error

Possible Answers:

that

No error

which

were

of cases in the office

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

The verb "were," which is used with plural nouns, corresponds to "overload," which is a singular noun. Therefore, the verb should be "was," to match the singular noun, instead of "were."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Shana, Joe, and Marcel was incredible in each of their performances and the audience rewarded them through cheers and applause. No error

Possible Answers:

through

their

was

No error

and

Correct answer:

was

Explanation:

Shana, Joe, and Marcel are three nouns grouped together (as indicated by the "and"), and thus are effectively a plural noun. "Was" is used in reference to a singular subject; in this sentence, "was" should be "were" (e.g. "Shana, Joe, and Marcel were incredible . . .").

Example Question #11 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

While the young analyst is bothered by the fact that his girlfriend is not very skilled behind the wheel, each of her other redeeming qualities compensate for her driving ability. No error

Possible Answers:

While

compensate

wheel, each

is bothered by

No error

Correct answer:

compensate

Explanation:

The subject of the second part of the sentence is "each of her other qualities." Here, the subject is singular because of the modifier "each of." To make this easier to understand, try reading this part of the sentence as "each one of her other qualities." Therefore, the corresponding verb should be in a form that can be used with a singular noun, "compensates."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Rebecca's preference for caviar and expensive chocolates are not a reflection of what she actually enjoys, but simply a manifestation of her tendency to spend money carelessly. No error

Possible Answers:

to spend

but

preference

are

No error

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

The subject of the first part of the compound sentence is "Rebecca's preference." This is a singular subject. Therefore, the corresponding verb should be "is," not "are."

Example Question #4 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The salami and chorizo in the refrigerator is very salty, so you may want to serve some water with it so that your guests will be comfortable. No error

Possible Answers:

is

No error

may

with it

and

Correct answer:

is

Explanation:

The subject in this sentence is “salami and chorizo,” which is plural. Therefore, the corresponding verb should be plural as well. Therefore, “is,” being singular, is incorrect. The proper verb is “are.”

Example Question #2 : Identifying Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The best part of running with bulls are the expressions on other peoples' faces as they try to stay one step ahead of the beasts behind themNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

ahead

them

try to 

are

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

The subject in this part of the sentence is "best part of running with the bulls." Here, "best part" is the subject, while "of running with the bulls" is a prepositional phrase that modifies "best part." Therefore, since "part" is singular, the subject is actually singular, and should be accompanied by a singular verb, "is," not "are."

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