When writing in English, it\u2019s important to make sure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree. This post covers the basics of subject\u2013verb agreement, which will give you the foundations to build more complex sentences.\nSubject\u2013Verb Agreement: The Simple Present Tense\nIn a sentence, the subject is the thing doing the action, while the verb is the action itself. In the simple present tense, singular first- and second-person pronouns (e.g. \u2018I\u2019 or \u2018you\u2019) and plural pronouns (e.g. \u2018we\u2019 or \u2018they\u2019) are followed by a base verb (i.e. the most basic form).\n\nWhen we use singular third-person pronouns (i.e. \u2018he\u2019, \u2018she\u2019, \u2018it\u2019), the third-person singular verb form (which typically ends in \u2018s\u2019) is used instead:\n\n\n\n\nSubject\n\n\nPresent Simple Verb\n\n\n\n\nI\u2026\nYou\u2026\nThey\u2026\nWe\u2026\n\n\n\u2026play football.\n\u2026like tennis.\n\u2026go to the gym daily.\n\u2026dance regularly.\n\n\n\n\nHe\u2026\nShe\u2026\nIt\u2026\n\n\n\u2026listens to dance music.\n\u2026washes her hair every day.\n\u2026breaks down all the time.\n\n\n\n\nSingular third-person verbs are also used when the subject in a sentence is a singular noun:\nThe computer breaks down all the time.\nIf the subject is a plural noun, the verb changes back to the base form:\nThese computers break down all the time.\nThe girls go to ballet twice a week.\nAnd keep in mind that uncountable nouns take third-person singular verbs:\nThe milk tastes amazing!\nThe water flows strongly here; be careful!\n\nSubject\u2013Verb Agreement: The Simple Past Tense\nWhen using the simple past tense, the verb doesn\u2019t change depending on the subject. Regular past tense verbs typically take the suffix \u2018-ed\u2019 (e.g. \u2018I played football yesterday\u2019). But there are some irregular past tense verbs: e.g. \u2018swam\u2019 (not \u2018swimmed\u2019).\n\nIn fact, some of the most commonly used verbs in English are irregular! The base verb \u2018be\u2019, for example, has various forms depending on tense and person:\n1st person singular: I am hungry.\n2nd person singular: You are funny.\n3rd person singular: She is smart.\n1st person plural: We are confused.\n2nd person plural: You are lost.\n3rd person plural: They are terrible.\n\nSubject\u2013Verb Agreement: Parenthetical Statements\nPicking the correct verb form can be tricky when a parenthetical phrase separates the subject and the verb:\nThe boy, accompanied by his pet koala bear, enjoys hiking in the woods.\nHere, we use the singular \u2018enjoys\u2019 because the koala bear is part of a parenthetical phrase, as indicated by the commas. In other words, the koala bear could be removed from the sentence without changing its basic meaning.\n\n[caption id="attachment_2947" align="aligncenter" width="398"] He's happier napping than hiking anyway.[\/caption]\n\nIf the boy and the koala bear were equally important, we\u2019d use a compound subject:\nThe boy and his pet koala bear enjoy hiking in the woods.\nHere, since compound subjects are treated as plural, a plural verb is used.