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Singular vs. Plural Verbs

Learn the difference between singular verbs and plural verbs from Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor Stephanie Paterik in this Howcast grammar video.


So I'd like to talk to you about singular versus plural verbs. You probably know that nouns have singular and plural forms. For example,this is a singular desk, but if I waved a wand and a second desk appeared, we would have desks, plural. And we get that by adding an s to the end of the word desk. Verbs work exactly the opposite way. Typically, if we want to make a verb plural, we drop the s or if we want to make it singular, we add the s. So I'll give you an example, so you can see what it looks like. So here we have the sentence, 'The cat scampers.'

We have a singular cat, so we need a singular verb. And in this case, we add an s to the verb 'scampers' to make it singular. Here's another example. So in this case, we have the sentence, 'The bees sting.'This time, 'bees' is plural, which means we need the plural form of the verb 'sting'. And to get that, we drop the s. Now let me give you one more example. Sometimes you'll be dealing with a word that ends in an es. So here, you can see we have the sentence, 'The church inspires awe.' So in this case, we have a singular 'church,' and all we do is add an s to the end of the verb 'inspire' to get the singular verb 'inspires'. If we have plural churches, then we drop the s to get the plural verb 'inspire'.

One professional tip I'd like to pass along is that in most cases, either the subject or the verb will end in an s, but not both. So if you have a sentence that says, say, 'The churches inspires awe.' You can see each word has an s at the end, and it doesn't sound quite right. So that can be a tip off to you that you need to change either your subject or your verb, so that they're both singular or both plural. I hope this gives you some good ideas about the difference between singular and plural verbs.

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