PSAT Writing : Identifying Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #35 : 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 I don't mind training on the school track, running on trails in our town's local parks are my favorite workout. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

on

are

in our town's

While

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

Don't be confused here by the plural nouns "trails" and "parks"—neither of these is the subject of the sentence's main clause; they merely add information about the subject. "Running," may initially seem to be a verb, but here it is functioning as a gerund, a verbal ending in "-ing" that functions as a noun. As such, it is a singular subject and needs to take the singular verb "is," making "are" incorrect.

Example Question #36 : 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.

Rabbits spend more time caring for their young than does other types of rodents such as hamsters and gerbils. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

caring

than does

spend

such as

Correct answer:

than does

Explanation:

The verb "does" is used with singular nouns, but in the sentence as it is written, it refers to "types," a plural noun. To correct the sentence's error, we would need to change "does" to "do," or omit "do" completely, as just the "than" is sufficient to make the comparison.

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.

The two families developed their farms in friendly competition and eventually became the leader of the region’s dairy productionNo error

Possible Answers:

the region's dairy production

friendly

the leader

their

No error

Correct answer:

the leader

Explanation:

This sentence is about two families (plural) that are successful. The sentence has them becoming the leader (singular) in the region. This discrepancy in number is an error. The corrected sentence reads: The two families developed their farms in friendly competition and eventually became the leaders of the region’s dairy production.

Example Question #521 : 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.

Unfamiliar customs and a sharp intelligence is intimidating, but a good sense of humor is very disarmingNo error

Possible Answers:

very disarming

is

Unfamiliar

No error

but

Correct answer:

is

Explanation:

This sentence lacks agreement between subject and verb. “Is” corresponds with a singular subject, but here the subject is plural. The corrected sentence reads: Unfamiliar customs and a sharp intelligence are intimidating, but a good sense of humor is very disarming.

Example Question #41 : 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 vibrant colors and unique patterns that decorate the doorway makes the house stand out from the rest of the suburban clones. No error

Possible Answers:

unique patterns that decorate

No error

stand out from the rest

vibrant

makes

Correct answer:

makes

Explanation:

The problem with this sentence is that the verb “makes” does not agree with the plural subject “colors and . . . patterns.” The corrected sentence reads, "The vibrant colors and unique patterns that decorate the doorway make the house stand out from the rest of the suburban clones."

Example Question #41 : 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 cans of paint, although seemingly light, was too heavy for me to move to the corner of the room where they wouldn't be in anyone's way. No error

Possible Answers:

anyone's

wouldn't

although

was

No error

Correct answer:

was

Explanation:

People get these kinds of questions wrong because of the phrase set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. That little seperation between the first and second part of the sentence is a distraction to subject-verb agreement. When read quickly, it may seem like "paint," which is singular, is the subject. The real subject, however, is "cans." This means our verb has to agree with a plural noun, and so "was" contains the error, because "was" should be "were."

Example Question #40 : 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 closet of shoes are hard to open; the door has swollen due to the massive amount of rain this spring. No error

Possible Answers:

has swollen

No error

closet

are

this

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

This question tries to confuse you by putting "shoes" after "closet." "Are" should be "is" as "closet" is the subject of the verb.

Example Question #41 : 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 trail of ants, which crossed the entire kitchen floor and disappeared into the cabinet, were new arrivals this morning. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

entire

were new arrivals

trail of ants

disappeared

Correct answer:

were new arrivals

Explanation:

The predicate of this sentence does not match in number with the single subject “trail.” The corrected sentence reads: The trail of ants, which crossed the entire kitchen floor and disappeared into the cabinet, was a new arrival this morning.

 

Example Question #41 : 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 events director, along with the administrative staff, are responsible for making sure the entire program runs smoothlyNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

making sure

are

smoothly

along with

Correct answer:

are

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb does not agree with the number of the subject. The subject is singular (the administrative staff is in a modifying phrase and doesn’t count), so the correct verb form would be “is.” The corrected sentence reads, "The events director, along with the administrative staff, is responsible for making sure the entire program runs smoothly."

Example Question #41 : 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 sloth, out of all the zoo animals, were what fascinated Peter the mostNo error

Possible Answers:

sloth, out

the most

No error

were

all

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

In this sentence, the verb does not agree with the subject. “Were” should go with a plural subject, but here the subject “the sloth” is singular. The corrected sentence reads, "The sloth, out of all the zoo animals, was what fascinated Peter the most."

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