PSAT Writing : Correcting Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : 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.

Though most people are unaware of it, there is over a hundred varieties of coffee which grow throughout the world.

Possible Answers:

there is over a hundred varieties of coffee that grow throughout the world.

there are over a hundred varieties of coffee that grow throughout the world.

there are over a hundred varieties of coffee which grow throughout the world.

there is over a hundred varieties of coffee which grow throughout the world.

there is over a hundred varieties of coffees that grow throughout the world.

Correct answer:

there are over a hundred varieties of coffee that grow throughout the world.

Explanation:

"There are” is correct because it indicates the existence of more than one thing (e.g., varieties). “Which” is incorrect because it does not follow a comma, nor does it refer to a complement/predicate. 

Example Question #282 : Improving Sentences

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.

The members of the group was frequently at odds with their rivals over petty differences.

Possible Answers:

the group was at odds frequently

the group were frequently at odds

the group was frequent at odds

the group was frequently at odds

the group was frequently in odds

Correct answer:

the group were frequently at odds

Explanation:

The use of the singular verb "was" is incorrect with the plural subject "members." Even though the verb is next to the singular group, the verb needs to match the subject. Thus the correct answer choice is "the group were frequently at odds," which is the only choice with the appropriate verb tense.

Example Question #31 : Correcting 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Both Mark and his friend Josh is a type of person called introverts.

Possible Answers:

are a type

is a types

is one type

is a type

are a types

Correct answer:

are a type

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence, "Mark and his friend Josh," is plural. Therefore, the sentence must use a verb that agrees with a plural subject. So, "are" needs to be used instead of "is." In choosing between "are a type" and "are a types," the phrase "a types" is grammatically incorrect because "a" is an indefinite article used with singular nouns, and "types" is a plural noun. Plus, you can see that the sentence is discussing one type of person "called introverts"—there is no discussion provided of any other type of person, so using the plural "types" would not make sense in the sentence's context. So, "are a type" is the correct answer.

Example Question #32 : 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.

Despite positive reviews from movie critics, the quality of the young director’s recent films are rather questionable.

Possible Answers:

the quality of the young directors recent films is rather questionable.

the quality of the young director’s recent films are rather questionable.

the quality of the young Director’s recent films are rather questionable.

the quality of the young Director’s recent films is rather questionable.

the quality of the young director’s recent films is rather questionable.

Correct answer:

the quality of the young director’s recent films is rather questionable.

Explanation:

An apostrophe is necessary to show possession, but the word “director” doesn’t need to be capitalized unless it is the official title or nickname of the person. Since “the quality” is singular, the sentence must read, "Despite positive reviews from movie critics, the quality of the young director’s recent films is rather questionable."

Example Question #31 : 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.

The treatment of animals in laboratories have become a controversial issue in recent years.

Possible Answers:

have been becoming

has become

having been becoming

have become

had becoming

Correct answer:

has become

Explanation:

The underlined words, the verb phrase "have become," must be in agreement with the subject of the sentence, which is "treatment." In the sentence, treatment is singular, even though it discusses "animals in laboratories." Thus, the singular verb form "has become" is the correct answer.

Example Question #34 : 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.

The oldest of the veterans hold a special place of honor in the group.

Possible Answers:

the veterans holding a special place

the veterans hold a special place

the veterans holds a special place

the veterans hold the special place

the veteran's hold a special place

Correct answer:

the veterans holds a special place

Explanation:

The verb "hold" is a plural verb, but the subject of the sentence is the singular "The oldest." The verb needs to be changed to a singular form to be in agreement with the subject. The only answer choice that uses the correct verb is "the veterans holds a special place."

Example Question #31 : 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 teenagers have a brand new cellular phone.

Possible Answers:

Each of the teenagers having

Each of the teenagers have

Each teenager have

Each, of the teenagers, have

Each of the teenagers has

Correct answer:

Each of the teenagers has

Explanation:

The underlined section of the sentence has a problem with the verb "have." While the verb is situated next to the plural noun "teenagers," the subject of the sentence is the word "each," which is singular. Therefore, the verb needs to be a singular form, and "Each of the teenagers has" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #31 : 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.

The teenager, along with her classmates, object to the school's use of uniforms beginning next year.

Possible Answers:

The teenager, along with her classmates, objects 

The teenager along with her classmates, objects

The teenager, along with her classmates, object 

The teenager along with her classmates objects

The teenager along with her classmates object 

Correct answer:

The teenager, along with her classmates, objects 

Explanation:

The issue in the underlined portion of the sentence is that the sentence and verb are not in agreement. While the sentence references "classmates," that is in an interrupting phrase set off by commas, and the subject is the singular "teenager." "The teenager, along with her classmates, objects" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #37 : 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.

The most challenging thing for young musicians are to listen to the rest of the ensemble.

Possible Answers:

are listening

is having listened

are to listen

is to listen

are listen

Correct answer:

is to listen

Explanation:

The use of "are" is incorrect in the sentence, as it is a plural form and the subject of the sentence, "thing," is in the singular. The verb tense for "are" needs to be adjusted to the singular form; therefore, the correct answer is "is to listen."

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.

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