Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of writing that students in the fourth grade should master. It refers to the matching of the subject and verb in a sentence. When writing, it is crucial to ensure that the subject and the verb agree in terms of number and person. In other words, if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.
Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs. For example, «The cat is sleeping» is correct, while «The cat are sleeping» is incorrect. The subject `cat` is singular, and the verb `sleeping` agrees with it by being singular as well. Similarly, «The cats are sleeping» is correct, while «The cats is sleeping» is incorrect. The subject `cats` is plural, and the verb `are sleeping` is plural as well.
The same rule applies when it comes to subject-verb agreement with compound subjects. When two or more subjects are joined by `and,` the verb used must be plural. For instance, «The dog and the cat are running» is correct, while «The dog and the cat is running» is incorrect.
In sentences where the subject is connected by `or` or `nor,` it is essential to match the verb with the subject closest to it. For example, «Neither the dog nor the cat is sleeping» is correct, while «Neither the dog nor the cat are sleeping» is incorrect.
Additionally, subject-verb agreement in sentences where the subject is collective (a group of people or things) can be challenging. For instance, «The team is playing well» is correct, while «The team are playing well» is incorrect.
Finally, subject-verb agreement can be tricky when dealing with indefinite pronouns (someone, anybody, nobody, etc.). These pronouns are usually singular and require the use of singular verbs. For example, «Somebody is calling you» is correct, while «Somebody are calling you» is incorrect.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential component of writing and should be mastered by fourth-graders. Ensure that the subject and verb agree in terms of number and person. Remember that singular subjects take singular verbs, plural subjects take plural verbs, and collective nouns take singular verbs. With these rules in mind, students can write grammatically correct sentences that are clear and concise.