Check for Subject-Verb Agreement

Today’s activity is a little different-- some grammar practice on subject-verb agreement and other common grammar errors, combined with a reading. This designer antibiotics article & quiz from the website is based on a 2001 Voice of America article. Although it is older, I think it is a good change of pace. It gives you more practice with some of the words and ideas we have been studying, but it actually tests you on basic grammar use.

The article is given sentence by sentence, with a blank to fill in from 2-4 choices provided on each page. After you choose an answer it shows you the correct answer before going on.

Notice the instructions. Click on your computer’s numbers, not the web page answer, to choose each answer. (I didn’t notice, so I thought the quiz didn’t work! At least you don’t need to make my mistake!)

The grammar point it tests most is subject-verb agreement. (This is important for anyone writing English. Even native speakers sometimes have problems with it.)

Remember that if the subject of the sentence is singular (he, she, it, or the name of one person or thing), the verb form must also be singular. In the present tense that means the verb will end in ‘s.’ If the subject is plural (more than one: we, they, several people or things)-- or if it is ‘you’ or ‘I’, the verb will not end in ‘s.’

Also check that the pronouns are right for the nouns they replace. See the paragraph below for an example.

“John and Mary were scientists in different labs. John sent Mary some data, and asked her to check his results. She wrote back to him, “Your results look good. We evaluated them against our earlier results, and they are quite similar.”

A one-question quiz

Who or what do “they” and “them” refer to?

A. Mary and John

B. Mary

C. John

D. the results


If you answered D, “the results,” you’re right!

Here’s the designer antibiotics article and quiz. I hope you find it interesting and useful!

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