ACT English : Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Each of the seven gems in the Queen's crown were mined from each of the seven continents on Earth, making it representative of the Queen's desire for a worldwide empire. 

Possible Answers:

was mining from each of the seven continents on Earth

were mines from each of the seven continents on Earth

were mined from each of the seven continents on Earth

was mined from each of the seven continents on Earth

were mining from each of the seven continents on Earth

Correct answer:

was mined from each of the seven continents on Earth

Explanation:

Although there are seven gems, the subject of the sentence is "Each" of the gems, which is a singular noun. Therefore, the correct phrase uses the singular past verb form—"was mined from each of the seven continents on Earth."

Example Question #42 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

"Only one of the teams are going to make it to regionals," said Coach Joe.

Possible Answers:

"One team is going to make it to regionals only," said Coach Joe.

"Only one of the teams are going to make it to regionals," said Coach Joe.

"Only one of the teams are going to make it to regionals." Said Coach Joe. 

"Only one of the teams are to make it to regionals," said Coach Joe. 

"Only one of the teams is going to make it to regionals," said Coach Joe.

Correct answer:

"Only one of the teams is going to make it to regionals," said Coach Joe.

Explanation:

The singular use of "is going to" is correct, not the plural use of "are going to." This is because the verb "is" is modifying the "one" team that is going to make it, not the plural "teams." The "of the teams" can be taken out to show that one should use "is", not "are": "Only one . . . is going to make it to regionals."

Example Question #43 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

A combination of trenchant social commentary and delightfully entertaining plot twists characterize the novels of Jane Austen.

Possible Answers:

the fact that she twists the plot in delightfully entertaining ways characterizes the novels of Jane Austen. 

delightfully entertaining plot twists characterizes the novels of Jane Austen. 

the fact that she twists the plot in delightfully entertaining ways characterize the novels of Jane Austen. 

delightfully entertaining plot twists characterize the novels of Jane Austen. 

delightfully entertaining plot twists have characterized the novels of Jane Austen. 

Correct answer:

delightfully entertaining plot twists characterizes the novels of Jane Austen. 

Explanation:

The subject of this sentence, "A combination," is singular, so the predicate should be singular, too. The original text "delightfully entertaining plot twists characterize the novels of Jane Austen" and the answer choice "delightfully entertaining plot twists have characterized the novels of Jane Austen" contain plural predicates and therefore lead to subject-verb agreement errors. 

The answer choice "the fact that she twists the plot in delightfully entertaining ways characterizes the novels of Jane Austen" leads to faulty parallelism and the use of an ambiguous pronoun, and the answer choice "the fact that she twists the plot in delightfully entertaining ways characterize the novels of Jane Austen" leads to errors in both parallelism and subject-verb agreement.

Only answer choice "delightfully entertaining plot twists characterizes the novels of Jane Austen" correctly preserves the parallel structure and avoids any subject-verb agreement errors.

Example Question #41 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

No one knows where the paintings were anymore, as all records of their location were lost over a century ago.

Possible Answers:

No one knows where the painting's

No one knows where the paintings

No one knew where the paintings

No body knows where the paintings

No one know where the paintings

Correct answer:

No one knew where the paintings

Explanation:

The use of the past tense verb "were" indicates that the main verb of the sentence, "knows," should also be in the past tense, as they should be in agreement. Thus, the verb "knows" needs to be changed to its past-tense form. "No one knew where the paintings" is the only answer choice that correctly does this.

Example Question #41 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Making up stories are one of the chief ways a child learns to develop critical thinking skills.

Possible Answers:

Making up stories is one of the chief ways

Making up, stories are one of the chief ways

Making up stories are one of the chief ways

Making up stories are one of the chief way's

Making up stories are one chief way

Correct answer:

Making up stories is one of the chief ways

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is actually the gerund phrase "Making up stories," which is a singular construction, despite the use of "stories." The verb, therefore, must match the singular subject, but is written in a plural form. "Making up stories is one of the chief ways" is the answer choice that best corrects this issue.

Example Question #45 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

 

Each of the children are playing with a different toy.

Possible Answers:

Each one of the children are

Each of the children is

Each of the children are

Children are

Children is

Correct answer:

Each of the children is

Explanation:

The underlined portion does not show proper subject-verb agreement. Although there are "children" playing, the sentence refers to "each," which is singular. "Each of the children is" is the correct answer.

Example Question #71 : Simple Subject Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

The surly leader of the pack of bandits talk with an undeniable arrogance.

Possible Answers:

The surly leader of the pack of bandits talks

The surly leader of the pack of bandits talking

The surly leader of the pack of bandits, talks

NO CHANGE.

The surly leader of the pack of bandits, talk

Correct answer:

The surly leader of the pack of bandits talks

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is singular (the noun is "leader") so the verb should correspond. Even though "bandits" is the noun directly preceding the verb, "leader" is still the subject. "Talks" is, therefore, the appropriate form of the verb.

Example Question #71 : Agreement Errors

In today's society, (1) they have a popular TV series that (2) follows the life of 4-5 (3) young teenage girls who are trying to raise their child while being a teenager at the same time (4). The television series shows hardships, but they (5) focus more on the relationships of these girls rather than how much their baby’s diaper is changed or how often the baby spits up all over them. They always have a happy ending, giving teen girls these days hope that it (6) will do the same for them. The show focuses of (7) a different group of teen moms each season, but all being held back by having a child at a young age. Some are alone, some have significant others, and some even decided to give (8) their baby up for adoption, but not one of their lives are perfect nor easy (9). Some teenagers enjoy watching the show just to watch the babies grow, but others watch it because they think it’s popular, they think it will make them popular as well (10). The show is based upon these girl’s (11) lives and it doesn’t always seem to have to do with their children it has to do with them being teenagers (12).

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number.  If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

none of their lives are perfect nor easy

NO CHANGE

not one of their lives is perfect nor easy

not one of their lives is perfect or easy

Correct answer:

not one of their lives is perfect or easy

Explanation:

The phrase "not one" necessitates that the verb that follows it is singular, not plural, and "nor" is generally not used without "neither."

Example Question #73 : Simple Subject Errors

Passage adapted from Anna Sewell's Black Beauty (1877)

I was now beginning to grow handsome; my coat had grown fine and soft, and was bright black. I had one white foot and a pretty white star on my forehead. I was thought very handsome; my master would not sell me till I was four years old; he said lads ought not to work like men, and colts ought not to work like horses till they were quite grown up. When I was four years old Squire Gordon came to look at me. He examined my eyes, my mouth, and my legs; he felt them all down; and then I had to walk and trot and gallop before him. He seemed to like me, and said “When he has been well broken in he will do very well.” My master said he would break me in himself, as he should not like me to be frightened or hurt, and he lost no time about it, for the next day he began.

Every one may not know what breaking in is, therefore I will describe it. It means to teach a horse to wear a saddle and bridle, and to carry on his back a man, woman or child; to go just the way they wish, and to go quietly. Besides this he had to learn to wear a collar, a crupper, and a breeching, and to stand still while they are put on; then to have a cart or a chaise fixed behind, so that he cannot walk or trot without dragging it after him; and he must go fast or slow, just as his driver wishes. He must never start at what he sees, nor speak to other horses, nor bite, nor kick, nor have any will of his own; but always do his masters' will, even though he may be very tired or hungry; but the worst of all is, when his harness is once on, he may neither jump for joy nor lie down for weariness. So you see this breaking in is a great thing.

Choose the answer that best corrects the bolded and underlined portion of the passage. If the bolded and underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

has

have

needed

must

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

has

Explanation:

The subject "he" must be consistent with the verb that follows it in terms of its number. "Have" is plural so it is not appropriate. "Needed" and "had" are both in the past, which is not appropriate. "Must" is not grammatical. 

Example Question #74 : Simple Subject Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Each of the firefighters were trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.

Possible Answers:

Each of the firefighters were trained in CPR and another emergency procedures.

NO CHANGE

Each of the firefighters was trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.

Each of the firefighter was trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.

Each firefighter was to have been trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.

Correct answer:

Each of the firefighters was trained in CPR and other emergency procedures.

Explanation:

Subject/Verb Agreement: The indefinite pronoun "each" functions as the subject of this sentence. "Each" is always singular; the subject's corresponding verb should also be singular. "Each of the firefighters was..." Think of how easily the word "one" can follow "each," and this will give you a great hint to how each acts to individualize the subject. "Each one of the firefighters was trained..."

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