Subject-Verb Agreement and TOEFL iBT Speaking
published by May Day
Your grammar will be evaluated on both TOEFL iBT speaking and writing sections. Therefore, you need to create grammatical sentence structures. One area of grammar about which you should be concerned is subject-verb agreement.
Having correct subject-verb agreement is important to TOEFL iBT speaking and writing since it demonstrates to TOEFL iBT human raters that you have control of your sentence structures. The fewer times you have trouble with subject-verb agreement, the greater the possibility you have of scoring higher on TOEFL iBT speaking and writing sections.
You must be thinking to yourself, “Yeah, Yeah, been there done that. I am an advanced learner and do not have trouble with subject-verb agreement.” Still, remember that the TOEFL iBT speaking and writing sections are taken under pressure with little time for you to think. Furthermore, in the case of TOEFL iBT speaking, you have no time to edit your speech before you answer the six speaking tasks. Even with the independent and integrated writing tasks, you have 30 and 20 minutes during which you must compose well-organized, developed, and grammatically correct writing.
Here are some basic rules surrounding subject-verb agreement:
Rule: The verb agrees with the subject, not the object of the sentence.
Incorrect: Each of the girls are going to the movies.
Revised: Each of the girls is going to the movies.
Rule: There are a few isolated cases where the verb agrees with the object. This occurs after expressions of quantity (i.e., all, most, some, half, and part.)
Incorrect: All of the book are interesting to me.
Revised: All of the book is interesting to me.
Incorrect: Some of the students is sick today.
Revised: Some of the students are sick today.
Rule: After question words, comparisons, negative expressions, place expressions, and conditions without "if," the verb agrees with the subject, which may come after the verb.
Incorrect: On the table is the ungraded final exams.
Revised: On the table are the ungraded final exams.
Rule: Verbs are singular after certain kinds of words:
All of the these words or expressions are singular. Consequently, they require singular verbs.
anybody everybody nobody somebody
anyone everyone no one someone
anything everything nothing something
each + noun
every + noun
As you practice TOEFL iBT speaking tasks, you need to regularly record your voice so that you can monitor your subject-verb agreement and other grammatical trouble spots. Likewise, you will need to practice writing 30 and 20 minute TOEFL iBT independent and integrated writing tasks.
You should also keep in mind that your potential for making grammatical mistakes such as incorrect subject-verb agreement increases as the speaking and writing assignments become more complex. Therefore, you are more likely to make more grammatical errors on TOEFL iBT speaking tasks 4 (reading, listening, and speaking–academic) and 6 (listening and speaking–academic) since they are the most challenging. Therefore, you should monitor your grammar more closely with these speaking tasks.
Finally, since the integrated writing task is more complex than the independent writing task, you are more likely to make more grammatical errors, and, therefore, you should monitor your grammar more carefully as you practice the TOEFL iBT integrated writing tasks.
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