Subject-verb agreement means that the verb ending in sentence (or clause) matches it subject.
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.’
Subject verb agreement is only a problem when the verb ending changes depending on 'person'-- mainly the 3rd person singular present tense. (The verb to be is the only verb that change form in the simple past tense: 'was' for first & third person singular; 'were' for plurals and the second person.)
A failure of the verb to agree with the subject is a common grammar error, especially when the sentence is a little complicated or the subject is not obvious.
However, it's an important error to correct as you proofread your writing before sharing it. A lack of agreement can confuse the reader and will make the writer sound uneducated.
The linked exercise combines reading with a proofreading quiz. It's based on a 2001 Voice of America article. Although it is older, I think it is a good change of pace. It provides vocabulary practice and 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.
The grammar point it tests most is subject-verb agreement. (As mentioned, this is important for anyone writing in English. Even native speakers sometimes have problems with it.)
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
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!