Sunday, May 24, 2009

GRAMMAR ISSUES - Agreement with Linking Verbs

In sentences with linking verbs, the verb agrees with the subject, not the predicate nominative.

Roses and lavender make a lovely bouquet. (The verb make agrees with the subjects, roses and lavender, not the predicate nominative, bouquet.)

Unfortunately, the result of the discussion was more disagreements. (The verb was agrees with the subject, result, not the predicate nominative, disagreements.)

1. Branches from pine trees (makes, make) a good shelter for a garden.
2. The accidents (was, were) a tragedy.
3. The robins’ nest (is, are) a mass of twigs.
4. The children (seems, seem) the image of their father.
5. The bird’s bright wings (was, were) a beautiful sight.
6. Eyes (appears, appear) as a symbol in many artists’ work.
7. Before our eyes the piles of lumber (is becoming, are becoming) a house.
8. The warm, sunny days (was, were) a great gift to the tomato plants.
9. The dancers’ costumes (was, were) a symphony of color.
10. The students (is working, are working) together as a team.

Continue on your own:

11. Dishonest people (is, are) a disgrace to any profession.
12. Large numbers of books (forms, form) a library.
13. The ugly statues (was, were) a monument to bad taste.
14. The musicians in their tuxedos (was, were) a sight to behold.
15. The focus of a teacher’s life (is, are) the students.
16. The lakes in this area (is, are) a haven for many tourists.
17. Their different backgrounds (was, were) a great gulf between them.
18. The smiling children (seems, seem) the picture of happiness.
19. The chorus’s songs (was, were) a delight to the ears.
20. They say that the eyes (is, are) a window to the soul.

Now try with these:

1. Final exams (was, were) a disaster.
2. Peanut butter and bananas (makes, make) a great sandwich.
3. Those mountain peaks (is, are) a great challenge to a climber.
4. The participants (is keeping, are keeping) their comments to a minimum.
5. The thousands of dollars they spent (was, were) a terrible waste.
6. The search planes (is, are) the only hope for the stranded hikers.
7. The explosion (was caused, were caused) by sparks.
8. Stars on a dark night (is, are) a splendid sight.
9. The dress (is, are) several inches too short.
10. The children’s closets (is, are) a mess.
11. Your furtive glances (has betrayed, have betrayed) your guilt.
12. Hot dogs and beans (was, were) my father’s favorite meal.
13. His twin daughters (is, are) the apple of his eye.
14. The stock market (is posting, are posting) great gains today.
15. The comedian’s jokes (was, were) a riot.
16. The test scores (represents, represent) the students’ best effort.
17. The unfair trials (was, were) a travesty of justice.
18. The lights twinkling on the water (seems, seem) like stars in the sky.
19. Building wooden models of ships (is, are) my hobby.
20. Rude remarks from the children (continues, continue) to be a problem.


  1. Thank you for very good blog about English Grammar. It's very nice.

  2. Thanks for posting some useful grammar exercises that I can use with my TOEFL students.

    Michael Buckhoff


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