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.
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 pm476 Comments on When to Add s to a Verb