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Introduction to verb agreement

When you match up the subject of a sentence with a verb, it's called 'agreement'. Here's how it works! 

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hi grammarians. Today I want to talk about this idea, in English, that we call agreement. So, I'm going to teach you how to be agreeable, make it so that all of your sentences get along really well. Let me give you an example. "The dog barks," as opposed to, "The dogs bark." Do you see the difference? It's funny because the 's' seems to migrate, seems to move from one part of the sentence to the other. So what you wouldn't say is, "The dog bark." That doesn't work. And you wouldn't say, "The dogs barks." I know that seems strange that you wouldn't want to have the 's' follow the other 's', but you actually only want to have one of these in a sentence. So, "The dog barks." "The dogs bark." When there's only one of something, strangely, in the present tense, it takes this 's'. So, "Jake bakes a cake." "We bake a cake." Not, "Jake bake a cake," which, admittedly, is a fun sentence to say. But this is not, in standard English, this is not correct. It doesn't exhibit what we call agreement. Similarly, you also wouldn't say, "We bakes a cake." If you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings books or movies, if you remember Gollum, the character Gollum is a weird little bug-eyed critter whose just kind of obsessed with the one ring, and he has this very particular way of speaking that is not, strictly speaking, standard. He's just wild about that ring. And the way he refers to everything, he just throws on an 's' on the end of every word he uses, every verb. So, if he's talking about, you know, this magic ring that he's very fond of, which he calls the precious, he wouldn't just say, "I love it." He'd say, "I loves it." Like so, and that's not correct. That does not show agreement. So, the test here is really... You can figure out whether or not you are using agreement in your sentences if you sound like Gollum. Because if Gollum were being grammatical, he would say, "I love it." So this is the sense that I want you to develop is you listen to yourself speak and you ask, "Do I sound like Gollum, the little ring monster?" Because if you do sound like Gollum, then you're probably not operating under the agreement rules of standard American English, or you're just doing a Gollum impression. That's the basic idea behind agreement Is you just want to make sure that the parts of the sentence match up. Sentence parts match. They agree. They get along. They work. You can learn anything. David out.