PSAT Writing : Identifying Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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.

Early education programs, like the one started in that school district last year, has been shown to improve academic success later in lifeNo error

Possible Answers:

improve

later in life

No error

like the one

has been shown

Correct answer:

has been shown

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence, "Early education programs," is plural, but the verb that refers to it, "has been shown," agrees with a singular subject. It can be easy to miss this because of the interrupting phrase that separates the sentence's subject from the verb that refers to it. Changing "has been shown" to "have been shown" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "Early education programs, like the one started in that school district last year, have been shown to improve academic success later in life."

Example Question #21 : Identifying 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.

During the period of English colonialism, the reigning monarch, rather than elected officials, were responsible for nearly all political matters. No error

Possible Answers:

rather than

No error

for

were

During

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

The subject of this sentence is "the reigning monarch," which is singular, but the verb "were," which refers to "the reigning monarch," is plural. "Were" should be changed to "was" to match the singular subject.

Example Question #31 : 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.

Carefully crafted plots andbrilliantly developed main character is what makes the book so compellingNo error

Possible Answers:

is what makes

so compelling

and

No error

brilliantly developed

Correct answer:

is what makes

Explanation:

This sentence has a plural, compound subject, but the verb "is" agrees with a singular subject. Changing "is" to "are" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "Carefully crafted plots and a brilliantly developed main character are what makes the book so compelling."

Example Question #24 : 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 rules posted in the lobby is intended to be guidelines only. No error

Possible Answers:

guidelines

posted

intended to be

is

No error

Correct answer:

is

Explanation:

The subject of this sentence is plural ("rules"), but the verb "is" agrees with a singular subject. Changing "is" to "are" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "The rules posted in the lobby are intended to be guidelines only."

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.

The frequency with which her father was bringing home bushels of raw beets were concerning to Kathy. No error

Possible Answers:

were concerning

No error

was bringing home

with which

raw

Correct answer:

were concerning

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb “were” does not agree with the singular subject “frequency.” The corrected sentence reads, "The frequency with which her father was bringing home bushels of raw beets was concerning to Kathy."

Example Question #31 : 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.

The rhododendrons and lilacs that line the garden path seems out of place in the shadow of the concrete structureNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

rhododendrons and lilacs

structure

in the shadow

seems

Correct answer:

seems

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb does not agree with the subject. The subject “rhododendrons and lilacs” is plural, but “seems” agrees with a singular noun. The corrected sentence reads, "The rhododendrons and lilacs that line the garden path seem out of place in the shadow of the concrete structure."

Example Question #31 : 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.

My doctor told me to spend more time gardening, watching movies, and playing board games, because doing things that make me feel good are actually good for my health. No error

Possible Answers:

playing

actually good

are

feel good

No error

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

The subject here is the singular gerund (verbal noun) "doing"—not the plural noun "things." Thus, the main verb should be the singular—"is," not "are."

Example Question #32 : 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.

A spread, such as honey or syrup, are often used to sweeten pancakes and give them more flavor. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

are often 

or

them

sweeten

Correct answer:

are often 

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is "spread," which is being used as a singular noun; however, the sentence's verb, "are," agrees with plural nouns, not singular ones. To correct the sentence's error, "are" should be changed to "is."

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.

Massage and physical therapy helps to alleviate pain for many individuals who otherwise would suffer chronically from their conditions. No error

Possible Answers:

would

No error

from 

helps

for

Correct answer:

helps

Explanation:

The subject in this sentece is "Massage and physical therapy." Because the sentence's subject consists of multiple nouns connected by the conjunction "and," it is a compound subject; compound subjects take plural verbs, so "helps," which agrees with singular nouns, is incorrect. The corresponding verb should be "help," not "helps."

Example Question #31 : 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.

The politician, along with his many constituents, are opposed to the new reforms being enacted by the government. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

being enacted

along with

opposed to

constituents, are

Correct answer:

constituents, are

Explanation:

It is easy to think that the verb "are" refers to "constituents," but in this case ("The politician, along with his many constituents, are . . ."), the verb refers back to "politician," since "along with his many constituents" is a prepositional phrase. So, the plural verb "are" is incorrect since it refers to the singular "politician," and should be replaced with the singular verb "is." The corrected sentence reads, "The politician, along with his many constituents, is opposed to the new reforms being enacted by the government."

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