Grammar Essentials: Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses, Modals, Reported Speech

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What does subject-verb agreement refer to?

The connection between the subject of a sentence and the verb form it requires

Which of the following sentences demonstrates correct subject-verb agreement?

The cat loves to nap.

What do tenses indicate?

The time when an action takes place

In reported speech, what happens when we report something spoken in the present?

It shifts to the past

Which sentence demonstrates accurate subject-verb agreement with compound subjects?

The book or the movie was interesting.

How should one handle non-standard pronouns in terms of subject-verb agreement?

'They' requires a plural verb form.

Which of the following is an example of reported speech?

They said, 'We are having a party.'

What is the correct past simple form of the verb 'to eat'?


Which modal verb indicates necessity?


In reported speech, what would be the correct indirect form of the sentence: 'He said, I will finish the project'?

'He said that he would finish the project.'

Which sentence demonstrates correct subject-verb agreement?

The students are studying for their exams.

What is the present simple tense of the sentence: 'She will write a book'?

'She writes a book.'

Study Notes

Grammar Essentials: Understanding Subject-Verb Agreement, Tenses, Modals, and Reported Speech

Grammar is the foundation on which we build clear and effective written and spoken communication. In this article, we'll explore four key aspects of grammar that serve as building blocks for mastering the English language: subject-verb agreement, tenses, modals, and reported speech.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement refers to the correspondence between the subject of a sentence and the verb form it requires. A subject and its verb must agree in number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, or third). For example, the subject "the cats" is plural, so the verb must also be plural: "The cats love to nap."

Subject-verb agreement can be tricky when a sentence contains compound subjects (two or more subjects connected by a coordinating conjunction like "and" or "but") or non-standard pronouns like "I," "you," "we," "they," or "it." In these cases, you may need to adjust the verb form accordingly:

  • "I and my friends go to the mall" (first person singular and plural subject)
  • "You and I go to the mall" (second person singular and first person singular subject)


Tenses are used to indicate when an action or event takes place. English has a variety of tenses to convey different time frames, including the past, present, and future. Each tense can be further subdivided into progressive, perfect, perfect progressive, and simple tenses.

  • Past simple tense: I ate breakfast yesterday.
  • Present simple tense: I eat breakfast every morning.
  • Future simple tense: I will eat breakfast tomorrow.

Tenses can be complicated by irregular verbs, which do not follow the standard conjugation rules. For example, "eat" becomes "ate" in the past simple tense and "will eat" in the future simple tense.


Modals are verbs that indicate possibility, necessity, ability, or permission. They are a type of helping verb that can come before the main verb in a sentence. Modals include words like "can," "could," "may," "must," and "should."

  • "I could eat another slice of cake." (possibility)
  • "They must have finished their work by now." (necessity)
  • "Can you please pass me the salt?" (permission)

Reported Speech

Reported speech is a way of recounting what someone said using indirect language. This technique is used to convey the original speaker's words in a context other than their direct speech.

  • Direct speech: "She said, 'I love chocolate cake.'"
  • Reported speech: She said that she loves chocolate cake.

Reported speech can be used with all tenses, and modal verbs can also be used in reported speech to maintain the original speaker's intent.

  • Direct speech: He said, "I could not find the book."
  • Reported speech: He said that he could not find the book.

By understanding these four key aspects of grammar—subject-verb agreement, tenses, modals, and reported speech—you'll be well on your way to becoming a more confident and effective communicator. Remember, grammar is a tool, not a rulebook, so don't be afraid to experiment and explore. With practice and patience, you'll develop a stronger grasp on each of these components and be well-equipped to communicate clearly and effectively.

Learn about subject-verb agreement, tenses, modals, and reported speech to enhance your English grammar skills. Understand how subjects and verbs must agree in number and person, the different tenses for indicating time frames, modal verbs for expressing possibility and necessity, and reported speech for recounting spoken words indirectly.

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