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When to Add s to a Verb

If you feel confident about forming plurals in English by adding an s or es at the end of the word, I’m about to make you feel a little wobbly. Although most noun plurals are formed this way, only verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (he, she, boat, courage) as a subject ever have an added s on the end. With plural nouns (but also the singular pronouns I and you) there is never an added s at the end of a verb.

For example, which verb is plural, talk or talks? Because you would say, “He talks,” and he is a third-person singular pronoun, talks is a singular verb. You would say, “The people talk,” and people is a plural noun, so talk is a plural verb.

Example:
The position listed on the university Web site caught my attention because my education, experience, and training closely parallel/parallels your needs.

Answer: This sentence has two sets of subjects and verbs. The first subject/verb combination is position/caught. The second set of subjects is education, experience, and training, which is plural. We would say, “They parallel” so we must write or say, “…my education, experience, and training closely parallel your needs.”

Example:
If he or she needs/need me, I will be in the other room.

Answer:
In this sentence, he and she are the subjects; however, they are connected by or so we use the singular verb needs.

Pop Quiz

1. When he and Jenny walks/walk to work, they hold hands.
2. They leaves/leave at the end of the year for a month-long vacation.
3. Her dog, cat, and chicken gets/get along well together.
4. When he gets/get angry, his face turns red.
5. She goes/go away every August.

Pop Quiz Answers

1. When he and Jenny walk to work, they hold hands.
2. They leave at the end of the year for a month-long vacation.
3. Her dog, cat, and chicken get along well together.
4. When he gets angry, his face turns red.
5. She goes away every August.


Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007, at 8:44 pm


260 Comments

260 Responses to “When to Add s to a Verb”

  1. Sutay Jobe says:

    I want to sit exam this year and i want to have an excellent result. I MY THIS QUESTION CORRECT ?

  2. Federico says:

    I’m not sure why you talk about plural vs singular. What about “I”. I think this sentences is correct:

    If I need you, I will call your room.

    I understand that “I” is singular and I’m still using the verb without “s”. I learn the rule like “verbs in 3rd person (i.e. he, she, it) should be suffixed with an s”.

    Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      This is a very good question! You are correct that “I” is singular and in the case of a 3rd person (he, she, it), the verb should usually be suffixed with an s. In your example, “If I need you, I will call your room,” the verb “call” is singular, but the word “will” is present. In this case, the word “will” is a modal auxiliary verb. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “call.” When an auxiliary verb is there, the verb does not change no matter what the subject is (I will call, you will call, we will call, they will call, he will call, she will call.)

      • Thangadurai Punithan says:

        Dear Mam,

        Is it OK if I don’t use the modal auxillary verb in a sentence and add ‘s’ at the end of the verb. For instance, can I use the first of the following sentences instead of second one?

        I am not someone who shows my tears
        or
        I am not someone who will show my tears

        Thanks,

        • Jane says:

          In your sentence, “who” refers to “someone,” not to “I.” So depending on gender, the correct sentence would be “I am not someone who shows his tears.” OR “I am not someone who shows her tears.” Be sure to add a period at the end of the sentence.

      • Jena says:

        Hi Jane,

        Please clear my doubt in below sentence on how to use the “S”.

        “If She need/needs you, She will call your room.”

        Can you also please explain the answer.

        Thanks
        Jena

        • In English, verbs in the present tense have an added s on the end when the subject is a third-person singular noun or pronoun (man, she). The second part of your sentence uses the auxiliary will. The verb does not require the added s after an auxiliary. Also, the pronoun she should not be capitalized.

          If she needs you, she will call your room.

  3. Jeannine says:

    A question on sample SAT test 2 in The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd Edtion, gives the word “her” as the error in the following sentence:
    “Neither Ms. Perez nor Ms. Tanaka believes that watching as much television as her son Sam does will lead to anything productive.” The choices for errors were “nor”, “believes”, “her”, “will lead”, and No Error.
    I thought that “believes” is wrong because nearest subject dictates verb tense; thus it should be “believe.” Also, for “her” to be wrong, it must be “their” in which case Ms. Perez and Ms. Tanaka have a son together. Can someone confirm or refute the SAT answer?

    • Jane says:

      I’m not sure what the SAT folks were trying to get at here either. “Her son” doesn’t seem to fit because only one son is named. However, two singular nouns connected by “neither/nor” should take a singular verb like “believes.” So does the SAT suggest that the answer is “Neither Ms. Perez nor Ms. Tanaka believes that watching as much television as their son Sam does will lead to anything productive”? In this case, you are right that we have to presume that they share a son, which is a weird presumption to have to make.

  4. Samah says:

    what about the verbs that come after can and to?how we add s to them

    • Jane says:

      We don’t necessarily add an “s” to the verb that comes after “can.”
      Example: He can cook.
      Often, the word that comes after “do” is a noun and does not have an “s” on it.
      Examples: She does the work of two people. The two of them do the work of four people.

      • kanwal says:

        why you use an here?
        we don’t necessarily add an ‘s’ to the verb……
        all the question answer are really helpful….
        but i have memorising problem…which i read always forget…

        • Jane says:

          When you pronounce the letter s, it begins with a vowel sound (ess). In English you use an instead of a before a word that begins with a vowel or a vowel sound.

  5. Arthur says:

    Thank you so much!

  6. Aja says:

    How about sentences that uses ‘May’ – example: May he answers or May he answer?

    • Jane says:

      The word “may” in this case is a modal auxiliary verb. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “answer” in your example. Normally the verb would change spelling in the third person singular case (I answer, we answer, they answer but he answers, she answers). When the modal auxiliary is there, the word “answer” does not change no matter what the subject is (I may answer, you may answer, they may answer, he may answer, she may answer). The correct usage would be “May he answer?”

  7. Nad says:

    What about ‘people/the world/everyone/no one’ ?? is there an ‘s’ behind every verb?

    • Jane says:

      People is plural, so you do not add an s after the verb.
      The world is singular, so it does take an s after the verb.
      Everyone and no one are indefinite pronouns, and are considered singular, so you do add an s.

      • kashish jain says:

        “why does nobody comes from here?”
        is it a correct statement and why?

        • Your sentence (a question, not a statement) is not correct because when an auxiliary or helping verb (does) is used in conjunction with the main verb, you do not add the s to the main verb. You are also missing a capital letter at the beginning of your question.
          “Why does nobody come from here?”

          A more natural way to phrase your sentence would be “Why doesn’t anybody come from here?”

  8. Pat says:

    Just wondering how did the rule come to be that there should be a “s” added to verbs when the subject is singular, and no “s” when the subject is plural? What’s the reasoning behind setting up that rule in the English language? (I’m aware of the ‘sounding right’ part, but what made the language folks decide that there should be a “s” for singular verbs etc?)
    Thanks

    • Jane says:

      I really don’t know the answer to your question. Languages evolve over time. Maybe there is a language historian or linguist out there that can offer an answer to this question.

  9. mary says:

    if we must use s with singular verbs so why we dont use s with I :for instance I goes but we say he goes or my family goes how we can explain it with I,thanks

    • Jane says:

      The subject-verb agreement rules apply to all personal pronouns except I and you. Even though these pronouns are singular, they require plural forms of verbs.

      • akshay says:

        what if does is used? for eg : it doesn’t suits her or it doesn’t suit her..which is the
        correct one?

        • Jane says:

          The word does is an auxiliary in your sentence. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “suit” in your example. Normally a singular verb would be used and it would be formed by adding an s. When the auxiliary verb is there, the spelling of the main verb does not change.
          It doesn’t suit her.

  10. mary says:

    and my next question is that why we suppose that the word family is singular but the word people is plural,thanks again

    • Jane says:

      Family is a singular noun because it acts as a single unit. Its plural is families. The word people is plural as it is synonymous with persons, individuals, or human beings.

  11. Pam Hall says:

    I teach adult ESL classes. I don’t know how to explain the verb tense when using, ‘family’. If ‘they’needs a singular verb, why does ‘family’(they) use a plural verb. ‘The family works’, but, ‘They work’.

    • Jane says:

      The word they is plural. The plural form for the verb work is work (They work, we work). The word family is singular because it acts as a single unit. The singular form for work is works (He works, she works). The plural form of family is families.

  12. Rob says:

    Wow! I learned a lot especially because of the comments together with your answers.

    This resource is exactly what I’m looking for.

    You seem to be pretty good in English. =)

  13. Amar says:

    I want to know how to use this sentence( no one knows or no one’s knows which one is the right)

  14. ricardo says:

    I have a question regarding use and form:
    “he seems not to be” and “he doesn’t seem to be”

    when do I use the first and the second form? which is correct? and what is the difference in use of both sentences?

    • Jane says:

      The first example contains a split verb phrase. The word not is awkwardly placed in between the verb phrase seems to be. Although there is no exact rule being broken in this phrase, it is a matter of style. The second phrase contains the contraction doesn’t, which would not be preferred in formal writing. I recommend He does not seem to be.

  15. Katrina says:

    I really dont get it :( verb is not like noun that when you add “s” or “es” makes it plural right? How will you be able to determine if the verb is singular or plural? Verb must agree with the subject right? A singular subject must have a singular verb and a plural subject requires plural verb..

    And if i am correct, you make the verb plural by removing or not adding “s” or “es” in it?

    Thank you so much :)

  16. Katrina says:

    I think i just figured out the answer to my question by reading the comments. Thank you!! :) :) :)

  17. Louis says:

    This is a good website to learn english. thank you so much:D
    (I’m not so good at english, I’m French. English and French are very different language)

  18. lauren daisy says:

    my question is that when do we not have to use s with a verb for a third person?
    Or is it a must to use s with a verb for a third person in any case?

    • Jane says:

      You need to add an s to a verb when referring to another person (singular) unless you use the pronoun you.
      Examples:
      He walks his dog every morning.
      She gets more work done when it is quiet.
      Sam goes running after work each day.
      You leave too early to carpool with us.

  19. Faisal says:

    How would you ask question / interrogative sentence for this:-
    Q1. He took the bus.
    Ans. Did he take the bus?

    My question is why not “Did he takes the bus?”

    • Jane says:

      If you turn your question around to make a statement you would write He did take the bus. The sentence uses the auxiliary verb did, therefore you need to use the verb take.

  20. Dennis says:

    Currently this web site has the statement, “I Will Restore and Spirit of Victory and Praise International Spiritual Center presents Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith at “Revolve – Evolve 2012.”

    I am about to change this to “I Will Restore, Inc. and Spirit of Victory and Praise International Spiritual Center present Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith at “Revolve – Evolve 2012.”

    Which is correct? I believe the second is correct, which is why I am changing it. Also, I am studying for a Praxis II Exam to teach English. So on both levels this is helpful. Thanks

    • Jane says:

      As long as Spirit of Victory and Praise International Spiritual Center is one entity, I agree with you that the second statement is much easier for the reader to understand than the first one.

  21. lauren daisy says:

    When do we have to use will and would, could and can?please kindly clarify it to me its really confusing :-(

    And also kindly tell me that when don’t have to use an s with the verb for another person(singular)?

    • Jane says:

      As a verb, will indicates that something is expected to happen in the future, such as We will leave tomorrow. Will is also used to ask someone to do something, such as Will you please help me find my coat?

      Would indicates what someone said or thought about what was going to happen or be done, such as She said she would come with us. Would is also sometimes used to make a request or an offer, such as Would you like to come with us?

      Can means to be able, such as He can come with us. Could is used as the past tense of can, such as Yesterday we could see the smoke from the fire.

      There are many other definitions for these words. I recommend checking Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary for more information.

      The only time you do not add s to a verb for a singular form is with the pronoun you.

  22. ana says:

    why do you use “s” after the verb when you use “everything”

    • Jane says:

      Words like everything, anything, someone, anybody, everyone, etc. are called indefinite pronouns. They refer to an unspecified person, place, or thing. In most cases, indefinite pronouns take singular verbs, which generally end in s. Some indefinite pronouns always take a singular verb. Everything always takes a singular verb. Examples: Everything is going well at Bob’s company. Everything sounds hard.

  23. Leo Carretero says:

    I am a native spanish speaker, I agree with you, but when I found this in several web sites, it makes me feel confouse,why they add “S” to “keep”, Thanks!!

    Happiness keeps you sweet.
    Trials keep you strong.
    Sorrows keep you human.
    Failures keep you humble.
    Success keeps you glowing.
    But only God keeps you going!

    • Jane says:

      The subject and verb must agree (singular or plural). Verb plurals are formed by removing the “s.”

      Happiness (singular) keeps (singular) you sweet.
      Trials (plural) keep (plural) you strong.
      Sorrows (plural) keep (plural) you human.
      Failures (plural) keep (plural) you humble.
      Success (singular) keeps (singular) you glowing.
      But only God (singular) keeps (singular) you going!

  24. Alwin says:

    Hi Jane. :)
    First and foremost, thanks a bunch for posting these information. :D They are very useful and I bet people who read these up can really learn. :)

    I got another question. How about this sentence, “This plate of pasta makes your stomach go/goes crazy.” So, which is the case?

    Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers! :D

    • Jane says:

      The verb makes is a transitive verb. Stomach is the direct object. You would say “makes it go.”

      This plate of pasta makes your stomach go crazy.

  25. Hafiz says:

    Hi Jane.. My name is Hafiz.. an Asian comes from Malaysia.. I’ve learned so many things from you (this website).. It was really great web for someone like me whom failure in English.. after I saw all the comments and reply from you, I think I’ve know how to add -s or -es for the most verbs. thanks ya for helping me

    • Jane says:

      Hafiz, I do not think you are a failure in English at all. Your comments are understandable, though there are a few grammar errors. Learning English is not an easy thing to do and I am glad you find our website helpful. In an effort to help you continue to improve your English, I will rewrite your comments in the style of a native American English speaker:

      Hi, Jane. My name is Hafiz. I am from Malaysia. I have learned so many things from your website. It is a great website for someone like me who thinks he is a failure in English. After I saw all the comments and the replies from you, I think I know how to add -s or -es to most verbs. Thank you for helping me.

      • Ammar says:

        hi Jane, I respect how humble you are when you reply those comments ., and I need a solution for this..

        “I saw all the comments”

        “ALL” and “COMMENTS” in one sentence, are they correct? please explain, thanks alot :)

  26. David says:

    Hi, Jane. I’m David.
    I’m from Korea in ASIA.
    So, my first language is NOT english,
    I use Korean. So, I’m bad at English,
    Especially GRAMMER!
    I learned much in your website.
    I really must thank you.
    I really didn’t knew much in adding -s.
    Thanks, really.

  27. bharat says:

    Hi,

    I am confused between “would” and “would be”…at which type of sentence we should use “be” after auxiliary..like “what if any earthquake would occurs than the whole building would be collapsed.” or
    “what if any earthquake occurs than the building would be collapsed” or
    “what if any earthquake would occurs than the whole building would collapsed” or
    “what if any earthquake occurs than the whole building would collapsed”

    which one is better & thanks for your reply on above comments…it’s really helpful..

    • Jane says:

      Use would before a verb and would be before an adjective. Also, the word any in your sentence should be an and the word than should be then. It is better to make both parts of your sentence either a question or a statement instead of a mixture of the two. In addition, since you do not want to repeat the word would, use the word should first. The word then is unnecessary. For example:

      What if an earthquake should occur; would the whole building collapse? OR
      What if an earthquake should occur; would the whole building be flattened? (The phrase “building be collapsed” is awkward to a native English speaker and would not be used.)

      If an earthquake should occur, the whole building would collapse. OR
      If an earthquake should occur, the whole building would be flattened.

  28. Lisa says:

    So I guess my question would be, if there are two subjects or opposite count, which determines how we use the verb that follows?

    For example: We can also observe that, in general, the execution time of both algorithms grows slowly when epsilon grows.

    If the above sentence is grammatically correct, then I understand why “grows” after epsilon ends with “s,” but why does “grows” after “algorithms” end with “s”? Is it because the growth of the execution time is what’s linking this verb (where “time” is singular), and if so, doesn’t the plural “algorithms” imply that there are more than one execution time that’s measured?

    The same applies for the following: The output of the calls is transferred to the given nodes.

    I’m unsure as to why “is” is not “are” since “calls” is plural, but I’m also taking into consideration that “output” is singular. Which is the subject that determines how I use the verb?

    Please help.

    • Jane says:

      My Rule 2 of Finding Subjects and Verbs states “A subject will come before a phrase beginning with of.” Therefore, the subjects in each of your sentences that the verbs must agree with are time and output. Each word is singular and thus takes a singular verb. It is up to you to write your sentences to reflect what you mean:
      “. . . the execution time of both algorithms grows slowly . . .” OR “. . . the execution times of both algorithms grow slowly . . .”
      “The output of the calls is transferred . . .” or “The outputs of the calls are transferred . . .”

  29. Olga says:

    Hi Jane,
    I little bit confuse how to apply ‘es’ or ‘s’ to verb when I speak about department which has more then one person.
    Department in this case is plural or singular?
    The department comply or complies?
    Department provide or provides?

    • Jane says:

      The word department is a collective noun. Collective nouns can be tricky because they can be considered singular or plural depending on how they are used in the sentence. If these nouns are acting as a unit, use a singular verb. If the sentence indicates more individuality, use a plural verb. It is up to the author of the sentence to make this determination. In most instances, the word department acts as a unit and is singular. If that is the case in your situation, use the singular verbs complies and provides.

      • Julian says:

        Hi Jane,

        I was looking for a question similar to mine and I see Olga asked it (June 30, 2012 at 4:24 am).

        These collecitve nouns seem to be tricky indeed.
        I often come across “Team-A craete a new case and inform Team-B of it”, instead of the somehow better sounding to me “Team-A craeteS a new case and informS Team-B of it”.

        Apparently, it is really up to the author, but to me it just sounds too strange.

        Could you possibly give some good sounding example sentences of collective nouns* (considered plural) with plural verbs?

        *Company name/Department/Team/Family

        Thanks and regards! This is a great web page ;)

        PS: Friendly advice
        It would be great to collect determinative examples (modal verbs, auxiliary verbs, collective nouns, exceptions, etc.) from all the comments and add them to the article above. To me, the article would then reach the reader much easier ;)

  30. bharat says:

    Hi, thanks for your help exactly that I expected to be…
    I often confused while making a sentence with dual verb like
    1)she become elated.
    2)she felt elated
    3)she got dressed
    what if the sentence represents in past tense, does it make any sense to use both verb in its past tense form?
    and which one is right as i described under
    1) she becomes embarrassed taking an important decision.
    2) she becomes embarrasses taking an important decision.
    3)she becomes embarrassed while taking an important decision.

    and give me some examples which includes dual verb in different tenses…

    again thanks for your help

    • Jane says:

      The correct usage would be “She became elated.” The sentence is past tense. “She felt elated” and “She got dressed” are both correct.
      For your second question the following are correct:

      She becomes embarrassed while making important decisions. (Note that the correct word is making, not taking.) OR
      She became embarrassed while making an important decision.

      In English we do not usually use the term “dual verbs.” Modals or auxiliaries (sometimes called “linking” or “helping” verbs) are used in conjunction with the main verb. Here are some examples:

      He will write a letter to his grandmother tomorrow. (Future tense)
      He did write a letter to his grandmother last week. (Past tense)
      He is writing a letter to his grandmother today. (Present tense)

      She will play tennis tomorrow. (Future tense)
      She did play tennis yesterday. (Past tense)
      She is playing tennis today. (Present tense)

  31. Charles says:

    Can you please give explanation the use the addition of ‘ies’ in singular subject verb agreement?

    • Jane says:

      If the verb ends in y and is preceded by a consonant, change the y to i and add es. For verbs ending in y preceded by a vowel, just add s. Examples:

      carry, carries
      study, studies
      employ, employs
      stay, stays

  32. looly says:

    thank you so much i finally understand the grammar
    I’m ARABIC girl ^^
    thank you again :)

    • Jane says:

      I am happy to hear that you are understanding English grammar. Don’t forget the importance of capitalization and punctuation in your writing as well as proper grammar.

  33. jaclobster says:

    Hey
    Is it “my breaths forms wisps,” or “my breaths form wisps,”
    Thanks.

    • Jane says:

      Since the word breaths is plural, use the plural verb form. “My breaths form wisps.”
      Or, if you use the singular noun breath, “My breath forms wisps.”

      • syam says:

        “It contained a series of driving instructions with orders to wait for telephone calls” Why an s are present at instructions. .orders..and calls

        • Jane says:

          Instructions, orders, and calls are all nouns. In English, most noun plurals are formed by adding an s. The rules in this particular blog apply to verbs, not nouns.

  34. solomon says:

    hi jan. is this English sentence right or wrong?. is an intruction sentence from a professor from an Indian collage.

    he retort:”i’m Prof.T.Ekambaram Naidu,Fouder Chairman- Managing Trustee,of the Indo Asain Academy Educution Trust, Bangalore, India warmly welcome you with wide open arm to the paradise of learning”.

    • Jane says:

      Here is the sentence with proper capitalization, punctuation, and grammar: “I am Professor T. Ekambaram Naidu, the founder, chairman, and managing trustee of the Indo Asian Academy Education Trust in Bangalore, India. I warmly welcome you with wide open arms to the paradise of learning.”

  35. jrk00007 says:

    When the subject in a sentence is 3rd person singular number then s or es must be put after the main verb.
    Ex. 1. He goes to school
    (here the subject He is 3rd person singular number)

    2. She works for me.

  36. DKB111 says:

    so if i had the sentence. Uncle richard is one of those people who (swim, Swims) dailys. which one would i use?

    • Jane says:

      The verb has to agree with the noun people, therefore use the word swim. In order to make sure you are using the correct form of the verb, you could turn the sentence around and write, “Of those people who swim daily, Uncle Richard is one of them.”

  37. Jaja says:

    Thanks Jane for this wonderful website. This is great.

  38. Caroline says:

    I have question about the s or not to put s in first person ” I “. For example ” I feel like winter or I feels likr winter. Thank you.

    • Jane says:

      The word winter is a season and is not used to describe the way a person feels. If you are speaking about the weather, you could say “It feels like winter,” meaning the weather feels like winter. The pronoun it takes the singular verb feels and uses the s. An example of a sentence using the pronoun I is “I feel cold.” The subject-verb agreement rules apply to all personal pronouns except I and you. Even though these pronouns are singular, they require plural forms of verbs. Therefore, with the pronoun I, use the verb feel with no s.

  39. Kaye says:

    If everybody know/knows how to read, then book will never cease to be useful. —- in this case I don’t understand why it need to be knows when it should be singular (know) only. Please help. Thanks

    • Jane says:

      Words like everybody, everything, anything, someone, etc. are called indefinite pronouns. They refer to one or more unspecified persons, places, or things. In most cases, indefinite pronouns take singular verbs, which generally end in s. Some indefinite pronouns always take a singular verb. Everybody always takes a singular verb. The singular verb in this case is knows.

      If everybody knows how to read, then books will never cease to be useful.

  40. dan says:

    Hi, my name is Dan
    please help me understand the proper use of commas, colon and semicolon in sentences. Please add examples.

    • Jane says:

      In the English Rules section of our GrammarBook.com website, there is an entire list of punctuation rules. You can click on the specific punctuation mark and have access to rules, explanations, and examples for commas, colons, and semicolons. The blogs listed below are also devoted to these topics and include explanations and examples. Just click “Grammar Blog,” and then select a punctuation mark under “Blog Categories.” You can then choose from the following blogs:

      Using Commas, Semicolons, and Colons within Sentences
      Connecting Sentences with Commas and Semicolons
      Commas, Part 1
      Commas, Part 2
      The Power of Punctuation
      Commas before and in a Series
      Commas with Appositives
      Semicolons
      Colons with Lists
      Colons (Continued)

  41. Becky says:

    Is the sentence below grammatically correct? I am looking at the word “costs”.

    The colt costs less than the beautiful horse.

    • Jane says:

      Yes, it is grammatically correct.

      • Becky says:

        I have learned since EMailing you that “costs” in the sentence below is correct if you are talking about the present. But “cost” is correct if you are speaking in past tense. Is that right?

        • Jane says:

          The word cost is the past tense form, both singular and plural. It is also the present plural form. Costs is correct in the present tense, singular subject form.
          Examples:
          The colt costs less than the beautiful horse. (Present tense singular) In this case, perhaps a breeder is talking to you about horses that you are considering buying.
          The colt cost less than the beautiful horse. (Past tense singular) In this case, perhaps you are talking about horses that you already bought.
          Those apples cost one dollar. (present tense plural)
          Those shoes cost her an entire paycheck. (past tense plural)

  42. Susan says:

    Hi ,
    I have a question ,
    Why we didn’t write (s) after the verb keep in this sentence
    ( ( it is suggested that translator keep the four levels in parallel) ?

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence is an example of the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood pairs singular subjects with what we usually think of as plural verbs. The subjunctive mood is often used in “that” and “if” clauses and expresses a request, recommendation, or suggestion. The subjunctive mood is losing ground in spoken English but should still be used in formal speech and writing. Your sentence needs the word the before the noun translator. Also the word in is unnecessary.

      It is suggested that the translator keep the four levels parallel.
      Stated more directly:
      The translator should keep the four levels parallel.

  43. sam says:

    Hi ,jane
    i would like to thank you for this great website
    and im not a native speaker of english
    but i always ask myself when do we add an s to verbs?
    but i couldn’t ask at grammar class
    we learned all about tenses but they didn’t teach us about this at university so i looked for it online and i found the answer on this great website
    thank you again
    sam

  44. Sorin says:

    Hi Jane! I’m a little puzled with this: “he should step forward…” or “he should steps forward”? The last one doesn’t sound good but beeing involved “he” it’s still nedeed “s” or not? Thank you very much!

    • Jane says:

      The word “should” in this case is an auxiliary (helping) verb. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “step” in your example. Normally the verb would change spelling in the third person singular case (I step, we step, they step but he steps, she steps). When the auxiliary verb is there, the word “step” does not change no matter what the subject is (I should step, you should step, they should step, he should step, she should step). The correct usage would be “He should step forward.”

  45. Quinn says:

    Hi Jane,

    I have a question with this sentence. Is it “School letters ANNOY/ANNOYS me”. I think it should be annoy as letters is a plural noun but I’m not certain.

    Another thing I need clarifying is, we need not write a verb in past tense after ‘did’ as ‘did’ already signifies the past tense right?

    • Jane says:

      You are correct. The verb must agree with the plural subject letters. Therefore, the plural verb annoy is correct. When you use the word did as an auxiliary (helping) verb, the main verb does not change because did signifies past tense.

  46. Jmr says:

    Hi Jane. I am Filipino. Being a college student, it is a must that we should know how to speak and write in english. We all know that when you speak in english, errors are not easily noticed. The hardest thing in english is when you write down all the ideas in your mind. With what you wrote and comments I’ve read, I must say I was enlightened. Thnks a lot. Ü

    Just wanna ask a thing. When should we use the word ‘has, have, and had’ in a sentence. Is it necessary even we can clearly see an adj. in past form in a sentence. Another thng that I want to clarify is the usage of ‘in, on, and at’ in a sentence. I know that ‘in’ and ‘on’ can both be used for place, time, etc. but I am quite afraid of using neither of the two for I might commit a wrong thing using one of them. I want to be good in english that’s why I keep on browsing the net for some informative stuffs I may encounter. I want to know the usage of ‘for’,'to’, and ‘with’ in a sentence. Lastly, when will I use the word ‘is’ before an adj. or a verb in past form(e.g. is formed)? Is it true that the word ‘so’ is used for a negative thought and ‘very’ is for the opposite?

    Please correct my grammar if you will be seeing something to be corrected. MASSIVE THANKYOU AGAIN AND GOD BLESS. :)

    • Jane says:

      I am pleased that you have been enlightened by our website. However, your questions are beyond the scope of what we normally answer in the blog, where we are focusing on specific topics. You will find help with some of your questions in the Grammar Rules section of the website under the English Rules tab. I also suggest that you work directly with your English professors or teaching assistants in your college.

  47. bliss says:

    Hi Jane, just wanna ask which of these two sentences is correct:
    1. May God shower you with blessings.
    2. May God showers you with blessings.

    I really got confused whether i’ll use singular verb or plural verb after the word God. Please enlighten me.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Jane says:

      The word “may” in this case is an auxiliary (helping) verb. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “shower” in your example. Normally a singular verb would be used and it would be formed by adding an s. When the auxiliary verb is there, the spelling of the main verb does not change.

      May God shower you with blessings.

  48. Urim says:

    Hi Jane!I’d like to ask you which of these two sentences is right :
    1) Her family live in New York
    2) Her family lives in New York

    Please explain me the answer ! Thanks

    • Jane says:

      The word family is a collective noun. Since this noun is acting as a single unit, use a singular verb. The singular form for the verb live is formed with an s.

      Her family lives in New York.

  49. Sasha says:

    Jane, you are awesome! I didn’t want to read through all the messages, but here is my example I need help with:

    “The company salutes the good work you’ve done, appreciate(s) the people you are, and thank(s) you for your positive influence.”

    Do I put an s on all verbs or just the first one?

    • Jane says:

      The verbs all have to agree with the singular subject company. Therefore, add s to all of them to make them singular. I assume your sentence is being addressed to a work unit or to several persons. If it is addressed to only one person, then “person” needs to replace the word “people.”

      “The company salutes the good work you’ve done, appreciates the people you are, and thanks you for your positive influence.”

  50. wilda says:

    how about this sentence…
    1. budi and susi likes bakso
    2. budi and susi like bakso

    which one the right answer? and give the reason.
    thank u

    • Jane says:

      Your example sentence contains two subjects, Budi and Susi, therefore, the verb must be plural as well. The plural form of the verb like does not add an s. Note that the proper names are capitalized (I assume bakso is a food and not a name) and the sentence ends with a period.

      Budi and Susi like bakso.

  51. LeA says:

    hai, are these grammatically correct sentences?
    1) i just can’t believe she forces me to pay for our dinner
    2) it is belongs to me OR it belongs to me
    3) she let her son drive the car OR she lets her son to drive the car.

    • Jane says:

      1) Your first sentence is grammatically correct with the necessary capitalization and punctuation added.
      I just can’t believe she forces me to pay for our dinner.

      2) The second sentence should be written:
      It belongs to me.

      3) Your final sentence should not contain the word to. Use of the words let vs. lets changes when the action described in the sentences occurred. Again the correct capitalization and punctuation are necessary.

      She let her son drive the car. (past tense)
      She lets her son drive the car. (present tense)

  52. Anna Chiara says:

    Hey Jane! your explenations are really good! So, agreeing on what you said and I’ve always been taught, is there a grammatical error?
    Because the Internet is a highly promoted tool, detection and diagnosis of addiction is often difficult. Therefore, it is essential that the skilled clinician understand the characteristics which differentiate normal from pathological Internet use (PIU).

    The skilled clinician is singular, but understand doesn’t end with an S.
    I took this from a serious article about Internet addiction, I mean, I didn’t made it up myself. So what do you think?

    Thank you so much!

    • Jane says:

      The sentence is an example of the subjunctive mode. The subjunctive mode pairs singular subjects with what we usually think of as plural verbs. The subjunctive is often used in “that” and “if” clauses in sentences that express a wish, request, recommendation, or suggestion. Therefore, the verb understand is correct.

  53. SHUBHAM says:

    I would like to ask that–
    Not only did she go to the market but also to the cinema.
    (the “did” is necessary here or not)
    or we can simply write it as–
    Not only she went to the market but also to the cinema.
    PLEASE HELP.

    • Jane says:

      The word did is necessary in your first sentence. The second sentence is not grammatically correct but could be rewritten several ways including, “She went not only to the market but also to the cinema.”

  54. Dira says:

    thank you Jane, i learned a lot!

  55. Dira says:

    I know this is out of subject but which sentence most correct

    You’re telling me that we’ve two eggs or You telling me that we’ve got two eggs

    • Jane says:

      I am glad our website has helped you. Any of the following would be acceptable:

      You’re telling me that we have two eggs.
      You are telling me that we have two eggs.
      Are you telling me that we have two eggs?

  56. Catherine says:

    I’m having trouble with determining the correct verb for the phrase:

    My education combined with my experience make/makes me a strong candidate for …

    Does ‘combined with’ suggest that the verb should be in the plural – as though it were equivalent to ‘and’?

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 7 of Subject and Verb Agreement states, “Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as, besides, or not. Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural verb.” Combined with is one of these expressions, therefore the verb should agree with the subject education.

      My education combined with my experience makes me a strong candidate for …

  57. Ammar says:

    Hi Jane,

    Please teach me with this sentence again.

    You explained that “She let her son drive the car” and you suggested it is as a past tense sentence, so the word “let” does not require “s”? So my question is, do past tense sentences don’t require “s” for the verb?

    Thanks a lot Jane :)

  58. Roman says:

    why do we add s or es with third singular person.
    thanks

    • Jane says:

      When you speak of adding s or es, I assume you are referring to the verbs that are used with third person singular pronouns. I will give you some general guidance but there will be exceptions. When in doubt, check a dictionary. Verbs that end in s, z, sh, and ch sounds generally have es added. Examples: guess/guesses, buzz/buzzes, rush/rushes, watch/watches. However, there are also go/goes and do/does. Verbs that end in other sounds generally have only s added. Examples: free/frees, walk/walks, run/runs, sway/sways. Verbs that end in a consonant and then y will drop the y and add ies. Examples: study/studies, ready/readies, fly/flies.

  59. Michelle says:

    Hi Jane,
    I would like to know in present tense, do we add ‘s’ to the verbs that follows the 3rd person (she,he it) by having the words, always, may, often in front of it.
    For example:
    1). She may knock (or knocks) down the table?
    2). She always walk (or walks) along the beach?
    3). He often talk (or talks) to God?
    4). How do we explain to students the words in the above sentences of ‘ always, may and often’? do they call prepositions of time?

    Look (or looking) forward to your prompt reply.

    • Jane says:

      The word may is an auxiliary or helping verb in your first sentence. It is used in conjunction with the main verb “knock” in your example. Normally a singular verb would be used and it would be formed by adding an s (she knocks). When the auxiliary verb is there, you do not add the s.
      She may knock down the table.

      The words always and often in your next sentences are adverbs. They modify the verbs and have no effect on their spelling, therefore the singular verbs are formed by adding the s.
      She always walks along the beach.
      He often talks to God.

  60. Prathiba says:

    Hi jane,

    in the below sentence, I know I must add an s to the verb ‘live’. And I want to know should I also add an ‘s’ to end of ‘come’ and ‘ask’?

    ”That moment when a cute girl who lives near your home come and ask for a help”

    • Jane says:

      Yes, all three verbs must agree with the word girl. The article a is not necessary before the word help. Your example, although not a complete sentence, should be written “that moment when a cute girl who lives near your home comes and asks for help.”

  61. jyoti sardana says:

    IIMT Group of Institutions and Chifley Business School join/joins hands with each other to excel. What is the right answer and why

    • Jane says:

      Your sentence has two subjects, IIMT Group of Institutions and Chifley Business School. Therefore, you need to use the plural verb join. Also, the phrase “with each other” is not necessary in your sentence.

      IIMT Group of Institutions and Chifley Business School join hands to excel.

  62. Hi Jane,
    Thank you for this wonderful website. I have a question on the use of ‘s’ on singular verb and I hope you can enlighten me:

    If we must have a ‘s’ after a singular noun (Mary wants… or He gets…. etc) Why don’t we have it for the following? (Vomit and Erase)

    1. The stench of the dead rat made Mary vomit.
    2. The teacher made Karen erase her untidy handwriting before submission.

    Many thanks!
    Chan-Hoong

    • Jane says:

      Certain verbs such as make, made, let, see, feel, and hear, when followed by an object, use a form called a bare infinitive. Your sentences contain a subject and the verb made followed by an object and an infinitive without the word to. The bare infinitive uses the verb’s root or stem, therefore there is no s. Examples:

      stench (subject) + made (verb) + Mary (object) + vomit (bare infinitive)
      teacher (subject) + made (verb) + Karen (object) + erase (bare infinitive)

  63. jame says:

    hi,
    jane,first of allyou are doing a great work.

    what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
    why’s’ is being used with ‘make’,when it is followed by you.

    • Jane says:

      Thank you for the compliment. In your example sentence the verb makes must agree with the subject. The subject is the singular pronoun what. The word you is an object and does not have any effect on the word makes. The word makes would still be used if the word you was changed to me, her, him, us, or them.

  64. Emmyk says:

    You’re simply Awesome. I’m Emmanuel. From Nigeria.

    I have save this page all this while, and finally today, I went all through the comments. I mean all the 130+ comments…

    You are really doing a great job.
    I’m a Mass Communication student in University,I want my grammar to be clean..

    I want you to shade more light on: the form of verb when asking a question- past or present?
    Eg. What did you EAT?
    You ATE what?

    Want more clarification, I learnt the latter is a DIRECT QUESTION…, while the formal is INDIRECT QUESTION.. (verb must be in past tense..

    Once again, good work.. I was chuffed with your great replies, I started asking my roomate questions that I saw here, *feeling like a boss*

    • Jane says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I hope that going through all of the comments was instructive for you. By the way, I will mention that the English figure of speech is “shed more light on” or sometimes “shine more light on,” not “shade more light on.” Also, I’m not familiar with the word “chuffed” as you used it. I assume you meant something like “filled” or “puffed up” or “excited by.”

      At any rate, direct vs. indirect questions are not so much about verb tense as they are about who you are asking the question of: whether you know the person well or not. If you know the person well, you may ask the question directly. If you are not so familiar with the person, you might use more words to ask the question in a courteous way. For example:
      Direct question: What are you eating?
      Indirect question: Would you mind telling me what it is that you’re eating? OR Could you please tell me what you’re eating?

  65. tinni says:

    what is the difference between “aireoplane flies high above the sky” and “aireoplane fly high above the sky”…why in the first one we added ‘s’???

    • Jane says:

      The noun airplane (this is the American spelling of the word) is a singular noun and in the case of a third person (he, she, it), the verb should usually be suffixed with an s. “The airplane flies high above the sky” is grammatically correct.

      • tinni says:

        then why in the second sentence we havent added ‘s’ ?

        • Jane says:

          The second sentence is not grammatically correct. It should be written “The airplane flies high above the sky.” This is because airplane is singular. If plural, the sentence would be “The airplanes fly high above the sky.”

  66. kuti says:

    So what is meant generally is that when the subject is plural “s” should not be added?

  67. hannes says:

    In the first example you write “your needs” at the end of the sentence. My question is should it not be need without the s, since your is plural?

    • Jane says:

      The word needs is a noun in that sentence, not a verb. “Your needs” is correct because it is a plural noun indicating there is more than one “need.”

  68. Shyma says:

    Can i use the ‘s’ after verbs with “I” like: i wants…
    And if so what’s the difference between: i wnat.. And i wants

    Thank you..

    • Jane says:

      I wants is not grammatically correct. The subject-verb agreement rules apply to all personal pronouns except I and you. Even though these pronouns are singular, they require plural forms of verbs. Examples:

      I want, you want, he/she wants
      I talk, you talk, he/she talks

  69. meme says:

    is it flaunt her flab. or flaunts her flab

  70. Qasim says:

    Hi Jane,

    Kindly tell me why they use S in this sentence, although the company is in process of registration and providing no services

    ‘The company intends to manage Collective Investment Fund (CIF) only after successful launch and start-up phase’

    • Jane says:

      We assume you mean the s in the word intends. The singular verb intends must agree with the singular subject company. Also, in order to be grammatically correct, there should be articles before the words Collective and successful and a period at the end of the sentence.

      The company intends to manage the Collective Investment Fund (CIF) only after a successful launch and start-up phase. OR
      The company intends to manage a Collective Investment Fund (CIF) only after a successful launch and start-up phase.

      But if this is a direct quote, quotation marks should be used, and no words should be added or deleted.

      “The company intends to manage Collective Investment Fund (CIF) only after successful launch and start-up phase.”

  71. Pricess Ashikin says:

    Hye dear,
    i am confuse about your Pop Quiz
    -

    1. When he and Jenny walks/walk to work, they hold hands.

    Your answer is walk because this is plural but i’m not understand why we must put ‘s’ at hands.

    -Thank you and sorry I still learning ang not good in english

    • Jane says:

      The word walk in that sentence is a verb. Most verb plurals in English are formed by removing the s. The word hands in the sentence is a noun. Noun plurals are formed by adding an s.

      To help you with your English, we would like to mention that the word “hye” is not a word in English. There is a greeting Hi, but that word is considered informal. Also, the word Dear used as a name would only be used as a term of endearment for someone you know well. It is also used as an adjective in a greeting followed by the person’s name. To be grammatically correct, your comment could be written as follows:

      Dear Jane,
      I am confused about your Pop Quiz.
      1. When he and Jenny walks/walk to work, they hold hands.
      Your answer is walk because this is plural but I do not understand why we must use s for hands.
      Thank you and sorry, I am still learning and I am not good in English.

  72. Gokul says:

    I’m preparing for competitive exams and I found this website extremely useful. Thank you so much.

  73. Zaid says:

    Hi, I dont know if i should ask this here but I am pretty lost, see this please:

    ”I don’t treat them badly, neither do I follow the stereotypical roles our society BESTOW/BESTOWS upon them.

    What should I use? Please explain it as well, thankyou so much.

  74. Lottie says:

    with ‘s’ when the verb is singular and without ‘s’ when the verb is plural. . . am I right?

    • Jane says:

      As long as you make clear that the rule of an added s only applies to third-person singular subjects, in most cases you are correct. There are exceptions to this rule, such as verbs following auxiliary verbs and verbs used with the pronouns I and you.

  75. Penny says:

    This website is amazing!
    And the one answering and replying to all the questions so genuinely and fairly needs to be saluted. :D
    Thank you.
    P.S- I hope you don’t find any errors in the compliment given to you above. HAHA!

  76. Alexis says:

    I don’t mean to piggyback on this question, but it seems somewhat appropriate. In the case of a subject noting a combination and using a preposition, is the verb tense singular or plural?

    Ex: Her personal history combined with her professional training “make” or “makes” her a suitable candidate?

    • Jane says:

      Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along with, as well as, besides, not, combined with, etc. These words and phrases are not part of the subject. Ignore them and use a singular verb when the subject is singular.
      Her personal history combined with her professional training makes her a suitable candidate.

  77. Annie says:

    Hi,

    I would like to ask, which statement below is correct.

    1. The system currently displayed it as “Transferred” only.
    2. The system currently displays it as “Transferred” only.

    Thanks,

    • Jane says:

      Both sentences are grammatically correct. It is more difficult to make sense of your first sentence, but probably could be done. The first sentence could be both grammatically correct and more easily make sense if worded something like The status is currently displayed as “Transferred” only.

  78. Tamanna sharma says:

    Wow !
    You are so amazing you have replied to all comments and that too accuratly how can one recall all the english rules and that too on tips . I do not think that I would become as good as you. What does this awaiting moderation means. And how can one learn english?

    • Jane says:

      We are glad that you are impressed with our blog. Anyone can learn English and become a good writer with a lot of studying, practice, and determination. If you are serious about learning English you may want to take a class.

      “Awaiting moderation” means the comment must be approved by us before being posted. Good luck!

  79. Jacob says:

    Why do we say. I am coming and not me is coming?

    • Jane says:

      Please see our blog “I vs. Me” which says, “Use one of the subject pronouns when it is the subject of the sentence.” Therefore, use the subject pronoun I.

  80. Rahoul says:

    He/She/They steals the show.
    He/She/They stole the show.
    I think both of the sentences are correct. However it certainly depends upon the time period. So for example I see a movie and tell my friend
    1.’She(the actress) steals the show’.
    2.’She(the actress) stole the show’.
    Which one is the right one to use under such situation and why?
    Please elaborate.

    • Jane says:

      Either one is grammatically correct. “She steals the show” is present tense. Present tense is sometimes used to refer to timeless facts, such as memorable persons and to works of the past that are still in existence or enduring. “She stole the show” is past tense. It indicates an act that occurred or existed at some point in the past. In your top sentence, “They steals the show” would not be correct. It should be “They steal the show.”

  81. Rahoul says:

    Appreciate your reply. It indeed clarified a lot of concepts to me.
    However I would like to go out of this box and ask you something. Hope you would be glad to answer the same.
    When to use ‘I’ and when to use ‘Me’?
    Say for example whats right? : I too or Me too.

    • Jane says:

      The word me is an object pronoun. “Me too” is correct in a sentence such as “He invited me, too.” If you were responding to a sentence such as “I’m tired,” then “me too” would not be grammatically correct. You would not say “me is tired.” The problem is that informal speech tends to prefer object pronouns like me, her, and them over the formally correct I, she, and they. That is why you will not usually hear “I too” in a casual conversation.

      We have several blogs explaining the use of pronouns in detail. Our “I vs. Me” and “I vs. Me (Review)” blogs deal specifically with when to use I or Me. We think you will find them helpful:

      I vs. Me
      I vs. Me (Review)
      I Subject Your Honor
      Pronoun Tips
      More Pronoun Pitfalls

  82. Annisa says:

    Hi, Jane! I’m a first year-English student from Indonesia. I was really confused how to add suffix -s to the verbs. But now I’m so happy that I found this very helpful website. Thank you :)

  83. TAI says:

    Ms. Straus
    Is there any cues or signs to distinguish between consonants and vowels especially -ies or the -s?

    If the verb finishes consonant+Y:eg. Cry, Fly, Study, Carry, then add “-ies” = Cries, Flies, Studies, Carries ※This rule only works if you have a consonant before the “y”

    If you have vowel, just add an “-s” :eg. Plays, Allays, Employs, Stays

    Okay, I got that, but what if there are some unfamiliar jargons, how do you know which to apply?

    Cheers

  84. TAI says:

    I think I found the answer to my question.
    vowels are a,e,i,o,u, so any of those latters before “y” is “-s”. For instance, Pl”a”y+s, Empl”o”y+s?

  85. mac says:

    the verb after helping verb can, it should always without ‘s’? eg. She can read. He can run.

  86. Eswar says:

    hey hi

    I found in an another website that Every Monday, Sally (drive) drives her kids to football practice. Here why are they are adding s to the verb. Is that because sally is consider as singular? if so in ur questions Her dog, cat, and chicken gets/get along well together. why did you shown as get? Thanks for your service

    • In your first sentence, the subject is the singular noun Sally. The singular verb is drives. Your second sentence contains a plural subject consisting of three singular nouns: dog, cat, and chicken. The plural verb is get.

  87. Kanwaljeet says:

    if someone loves eating all fruits should we say and why

    He loves fruits or
    He loves fruit

    • Although both are grammatically correct, it is more common to say, “He loves fruit.” In this sentence, the word fruit is used as a collective noun. The word fruit is also used as a countable noun as in “He ate two pieces of fruit.” The plural form fruits is not used as often and it generally refers to two or more different kinds of fruit. For example, one might say “We ate a variety of fruits and vegetables.” That would be grammatically correct. But it would also be grammatically correct to say “We ate a variety of fruit and vegetables.” The word fruits is often used along with the word vegetables because it sounds better. A period goes at the end of the sentence

  88. Kanwaljeet says:

    if someone has a passion for bikes

    should we say

    he loves bikes …or
    he love bikes

    • “He loves bikes” is correct because the word he is a third-person singular pronoun. Verbs with a third-person singular pronoun as a subject have an added s on the end. Note that there is a period at the end of the sentence.

  89. Eswar says:

    Hello thanks for your immediate response. so you mean to say whenever there is a singular verb we need to add S.

    Thanks a lot for your response

    • Only verbs with a third-person singular noun or pronoun (Sally, he, she, dog) as a subject have an added s on the end. Examples:
      Sally drives
      he runs
      she talks
      the dog barks

      The following examples do not have an added s:
      I drive
      you run

  90. Eswar says:

    Thanks a lot

  91. Faraz says:

    Hi !
    My question is that, if we have two third person singular subjects or more at the same time in a sentence what we have to do then ? I’m little bit confused about your examples those you have given in the beginning.

    If he or she needs/need me, I will be in the other room.
    In this example you used verb from ‘ infinitive + s or es’

    When he and Jenny walk to work, they hold hands.
    While here you didn’t follow that rule, why ?
    Please explain it.
    Thanks.

    • In the first example, using or indicates a singular subject, “he” or “she.” Therefore write needs: If he [needs me] or she needs me, I will be in the other room.
      The second example says “he and Jenny.” Using and indicates a plural subject, therefore write walk.

    • Faraz says:

      Thanks for the explanation.. if I have furthermore questions about English grammar, then should I ask here ?

      • You are welcome. If you have further questions, submit them under the blogs that directly relate to your questions. Note that furthermore is an adverb and should be replaced with the adjective further in your sentence.

  92. moon says:

    could you tell me, which following sentence is correct?
    -Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money. or
    -Fifty thousand dollars are a lot of money.
    -One-half of the faculty is retiring this summer. or
    -One-half of the faculties are retiring this summer.
    -One-half of the faculty have doctorates.or
    -One-half of the faculties have doctorates.
    -Fifty percent of the students have voted already.or
    -Fifty percent of the student have voted already.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Moon

    • Use a singular verb with sums of money or periods of time. Therefore, write “Fifty thousand dollars is a lot of money.”

      With words that indicate portions–some, most, all, etc.–look at the noun after of (object of the preposition) to determine whether to use a singular or plural verb. If the noun after of is singular, use a singular verb. If the noun after of is plural, use a plural verb. Therefore, write “Fifty percent of the students have voted already.”

      Your example sentences using the noun faculty are more complicated because faculty is a collective noun. Our blog Subject and Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns explains that if the collective noun is acting as a unit, a singular verb should be used. If the sentence indicates more individuality, use a plural verb. In your examples, the faculty is acting individually. Therefore, write:

      One-half of the faculty are retiring this summer.
      One-half of the faculty have doctorates.

  93. Hannes says:

    If I for instance should write the following sentence. Which way is correct, too add s to like or not and why?

    “According to her there are lots of things he like”

    • The word he is a third-person singular pronoun, therefore, use the singular verb likes. Also, when starting a sentence with a dependent clause, use a comma after it. Place a period at the end of the sentence.
      According to her, there are lots of things he likes.

  94. Andreea says:

    Hi. I have a question about “look” and “looks”.
    For example, if I want to say that something is delicious, nice, cute, beautiful how should I say?
    look delicious/nice/cute/beautiful or looks delicious/nice/cute/beautiful ?

    • It depends on whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural. Examples:
      That centerpiece looks beautiful. (singular)
      Those sandwiches look delicious. (plural)

  95. Leland says:

    Hi, I have a question about “toward” and “towards”.
    Is it correct to say
    “you hold no resentment towards John” or
    “you hold no resentment toward John”
    It seems awkward with an ‘s’ at the end, even though the subject is singular.

  96. Ronnlc says:

    Which sentence is more grammatically correct?

    These accomplishments instilled great organizational skills that allow me to meet deadlines while simultaneously sending multiple tasks.

    Or

    These accomplishments instilled great organizational skills; that allows me to meet deadlines while simultaneously sending multiple tasks.

    Or

    These accomplishments instilled great organizational skills. That allows me to meet deadlines while simultaneously sending multiple tasks.

    A fourth option would be to either take out the semi-colon or period and add a comma with the word “which” followed by “allow.”

    Also, why do we lose the “S” in some iterations of this sentence?

    Thank you.

    Ronnlc

    • Your fourth option is the best one, however, unless you are delegating your tasks to others, we question the phrase “sending multiple tasks.” Perhaps it might be better to write “These accomplishments instilled great organizational skills, which allow me to meet deadlines while simultaneously handling multiple tasks.”

      In the first and fourth sentences, the verb allow agrees with the plural noun skills. In the first sentence, the word that is used as a conjunction. In the second and third sentences, the word that is used as a pronoun. The verb allows agrees with the singular pronoun that.

  97. Huibert says:

    Dear Jane,

    By pure luck I’ve found your website: what a fountain of information you offer online and then you even answer and help us non-English natives when we don’t seem to be able to find the answer ourself. You’re a lighthouse in a sea of grammatical doubts and traps confusing us: thank you so much for your help!

    So here is my doubt of the day: I used to be sure who as a subject is followed by a verb with an s (Who does make the most mistakes, who corrects them afterwards), but today I read “Who run the world? Girls.”, which makes me wonder: if who stands for a plural word, does one skip the s? I guess not, as we may not know it stands for a plural word if we don’t know the answer to that question yet, but I’m not sure anymore. Please, Jane: release me from my doubts! :-) Thank you so much!

    • We appreciate the compliments about our website. The sentence “Who runs the world?” is grammatically correct. When a question is being asked, the answer is usually unknown. Therefore, the answer should not have any bearing on how the question is worded.

  98. Huibert says:

    I wasn’t aware Jane passed away: I hope my message didn’t cause any pain, but reconfirms that she is still much appreciated by people who just discover her now, like myself.

    Rest in peace.

    H

  99. Jossy says:

    Is it correct to say “our selection plays” or is better “our selection play”?

  100. Xevvy says:

    Which is correct?

    1. May this time of sharing and togetherness fill your home with happiness.
    2. May this time of sharing and togetherness fills your home with happiness.

    With or without the ‘s’?

  101. Therie says:

    You have been very helpful. I suggest you to make an app for iphone or android which contains different topics and exams too. God bless you!

  102. joydeb says:

    “He often makes mistakes”….in this sentance ,why two ‘s’ should be used?

    • As our blog states, when a third-person singular pronoun, such as he, is the subject, the verb has an s at the end. The word mistakes is a plural object, therefore it also ends with an s.

  103. Baby says:

    Why do some verbs end in s and others not?

  104. Abhi says:

    What would be correct?
    1. News like these sells like hotcakes.
    2. News like these sell like hotcakes.
    3. News like this sells like hotcakes.
    4. News like this sell like hotcakes.

    Is 2nd and 3rd are the correct answer?

  105. Gabriel says:

    Any body know how to cook pumpkin seeds in a microwave without them exploding … ?

    Is the sentence correct? I think it should be” anybody knows”

    • Since you used a question mark, we assume you are asking the question “Does anybody know how to cook pumpkin seeds in a microwave without them exploding?” If you are making a statement, write “Anybody knows how to cook pumpkin seeds in a microwave without them exploding.”

  106. Amir Alif says:

    Hi Jane, I really your website. I’m Amir from Malaysia. Can you please explain to me the different between mean and means? And when to use it? Thank you so much for ypur help.

    • There are many different definitions for mean and means, but since you submitted your question through this blog, we assume you are referring to the verb forms. In English, verbs in the present tense have an added s on the end when the subject is a third-person singular noun or pronoun (boy, girl, he, she, it, etc.). Therefore, you might write:

      I mean to finish this entire bowl of food.
      He means to finish this entire bowl of food.

      When an auxiliary or helping verb (such as do or does) is used in conjunction with the main verb, you do not add the s. Examples:
      What do you mean?
      What does he mean?

  107. aryan says:

    but my question is why we use or es with verbs. do you know about logic of using s or es. I know when we use and how we use but dont know why? what is reason that we use it?

  108. Liz says:

    What would be the proper use of “congratulate” when saying, “The family of John Doe and John Doe Publishing Company congratulates Random Company on its Centennial Anniversary.” Should congratulate have an -s or not?

  109. dwnthk says:

    Hi there,
    Should I say “God helps…” or “God help…”? Why?

    Thank you.

    • In most cases the singular verb helps is used because it agrees with the singular noun God. An example is the sentence “God helps those who help themselves.” The subjunctive mode, expressed by the base form help, is used when a desire or wish is expressed such as “May God help you.”

  110. premkumar says:

    Hi Jane,I am prem from India,pliz let me know which of one the following is a correct sentence.
    The dog bite him or The dog bites him.
    Again,
    Rahul plays guitar or Rahul play guitar.

  111. abubakar zubair says:

    is it proper to say “i loves her” or “i likes her” ????????

  112. Bethany says:

    Do we add s?

    Me and my family ( love, loves) to go to the beach.

    Why?

    • As our blog I vs. Me explains, you need to use the subject pronoun I in your sentence, not the object pronoun me. Since your sentence has two subjects, family and I, use the plural verb love.

      My family and I love to go to the beach.

  113. Bethany says:

    How do you use the verbs has and have?

    Can you give me an example?

    • Has is used with third person singular nouns and pronouns. Examples:
      He has an extra ticket to the play.
      She has a friend who is visiting.
      The dog has a new toy.

      Have is used with plural nouns and certain pronouns. Examples:
      I have an extra ticket to the play.
      We have a friend who is visiting.
      The dogs have new toys.

      Has and have can also be used as auxiliaries with other verbs. Examples:
      He has used all his frequent flyer miles.
      I have used all my frequent flyer miles.

  114. Bethany says:

    How do we use the verbs were and was?

    • Was and were are past tenses of the verb to be. Use was only with singular nouns and pronouns.. Examples:
      I was late to the movie.
      He was late to the movie.
      My friend was late to the movie.
      They were late to the movie.
      You were late to the movie.

      The word were replaces was in sentences that express a wish or are contrary to fact. This is called the subjunctive form. Examples:
      If Joe were here, you would be sorry.
      I wish I were on vacation.

  115. Harjot says:

    what would be correct??

    Does Alan deserve a chance?
    or
    Does Alan deserves a chance?

  116. nay says:

    do i put S to the verbs?
    The thing he likes the most about his job is that he lives in Dubai and travels around the region, meets new people, deals with challenges, sees the result of his work by the growth of the business and he likes working
    or
    The thing he likes the most about his job is that he lives in Dubai and travel around the region, meet new people, deal with challenges, see the result of his work by the growth of the business and he likes working

    • We recommend rewriting the sentence:
      The thing he likes the most about his job is that he lives in Dubai and travels around the region meeting new people, dealing with challenges, and seeing the result of his work by the growth of the business.

  117. Giacomo Pagani says:

    Hi,could you please explain to me if in the following case I should use a “s”, and why?

    “These explain(s) everything”

    Thanks

    • The subject of your sentence is the plural word these. The verb must agree with the plural subject. As the blog states, “With plural nouns there is never an added s at the end of a verb.” Therefore, explain is the correct plural form of the verb.

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