PSAT Writing : Identifying Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : 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 benefits of aromatherapy includes reduced stress, increased release of seratonin, and developing a more acute sense of smell. No error

Possible Answers:

benefits

includes

and 

more

No error

Correct answer:

includes

Explanation:

The subject here is "benefits," so the verb used needs to correspond to a plural subject. "Includes" corresponds to a singular subject and should actually be "include."

Example Question #11 : 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.

Densely populated cities and severe pollution is correlated to lower life expectancies and higher rates of birth defects. No error

Possible Answers:

expectancies

No error

populated

rates of

is

Correct answer:

is

Explanation:

The sentence's subject is "densely populated cities and severe pollution." Given that the subject consists of two entities, it is plural. Therefore, the corresponding verb "is" should actually be the plural verb "are."

Example Question #491 : Identifying Sentence 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 tortoise at the aquarium, as well as some of the older seals, do not generate a lot of excitement from visitors. No error

Possible Answers:

at the

a lot

do

as well as

No error

Correct answer:

do

Explanation:

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

Example Question #11 : 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.

panel of chefs tasted spices produced by three manufacturers, and decided that the spices produced by a local manufacturer was the best. No error

Possible Answers:

by panel of

was

No error

produced by

that 

Correct answer:

was

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb does not agree with the subject. The subject, "spices" is plural (“produced by a local manufacturer” is a modifier and doesn’t count), so the correct verb form should be “were,” not "was."

Example Question #331 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

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

Kiera only knits when she is upset, so her current desire to knit blankets for her entire family are a worrisome sign. No error

Possible Answers:

her

are

No error

her current desire

she

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

The verb "are" needs to agree with the subject "desire," so it must be singular—Kiera's desire to knit "is" a worrisome sign.

 

Example Question #16 : 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.

Mr. Fredrickson, who takes pride in acting as both a teacher and a mentor to his students, are ready for classes to begin next week. No error

Possible Answers:

who

No error

acting

to begin

are

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

Although the verb "are" is located close to the plural noun "students," it is actually referring to the subject of the sentence, "Mr. Fredrickson," so the verb should be the singular "is." When checking for subject-verb agreement, it can be helpful to identify just the subject and the verb, ignoring all descriptive phrases and focusing on whether the verb correctly matches the given subject.

Example Question #12 : 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.

Every morning, I eat a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter because the combination of carbohydrates and protein provide me with energy that lasts until lunch. No error

Possible Answers:

provide

because

until

No error

eat

Correct answer:

provide

Explanation:

The verb "provide" refers to the subject "combination." Because "combination" is a singular noun, the verb needs be changed from "provide" to "provides." The verb may follow the two nouns "carbohydrates and protein," which makes the verb "provide" seem appropriate. However, those nouns are actually part of the prepositional phrase "of carbohydrates and protein." Breaking down a sentence to make sure that each verb agrees with its subject is a good start when looking for sentence errors!

Example Question #21 : 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.

Not one of Johnny's teachers believe he cheated on his exit exams; however, given the severity of the accusations, the school's administrators forced Johnny to retake all of his exit exams. No error

Possible Answers:

of

of Johnny's teachers

however

No error

believe

Correct answer:

believe

Explanation:

In this sentence, "one" is the subject of the sentence, not "teachers," and "one" is a singular noun. As a result, the verb of the sentence ("believe") needs to match the subject's plurality. Therefore, the verb of the sentence must be singular, too: "Not one of the teachers believes."

Example Question #11 : 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 protest of students, professors, and community members were unsuccessful in their attempt to change the university's policy on sexual assault to include harsher punishments for assailants. No error

Possible Answers:

were unsuccessful in their

to change

harsher

on

No error

Correct answer:

were unsuccessful in their

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is "protest," not "students, professors, and community members."  Thus, the verb of the sentence, "were," is incorrect.  The verb must match the plurality of its subject.  Since "protest" is singular, the verb must be singular, too: "The protest of students, professors, and community members was unsuccessful."

Example Question #21 : 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.

Neither Sheila nor Ann have ever gone to the fair without having bought tickets beforehand. No error

Possible Answers:

have

beforehand

No error

having bought

gone

Correct answer:

have

Explanation:

The sentence features two subjects: "Sheila" and "Ann." The word "Neither" classifies them as singular, but the verb "have" is used with plural subjects. To correct this sentence, "have" should be changed to "has."

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