Here’s an easy way to approach subject-verb agreement when the verb is a form of to be or to have. Just as with regular verbs, the correct form to match a singular subject will end in -s. The correct form to match a plural subject will not end in -s. Study these correct examples:

Singular Subject

Plural Subject

The dessert is delicious.

The desserts are delicious.

The dessert was delicious.

The desserts were delicious.

The dessert has pizzazz.

The desserts have pizzazz.

Notice that all the words that agree with the singular subject dessert end in -s: is, was, and has. Also notice that the verbs that agree with the plural subject desserts do not end in -s. They are are, were, and have.

Exercise 6.3

Fill in each blank with the verb that agrees with the subject. Remember: A singular subject agrees with a verb that ends in -s—with the exceptions of I and you, which are treated as plural subjects.

1. A Steven Spielberg movie ___________ (has / have) certain characteristics.

Steven Spielberg movies ___________ (has / have) certain characteristics.

2. Her attitude ___________ (is / are) wonderful.

Their attitudes ___________ (is / are) wonderful.

3. The mail carriers ___________ (was / were) late.

The mail carrier ___________ (was / were) late.

4. Soft pretzels ___________ (is / are) one of life’s little necessities.

A soft pretzel ___________ (is / are) one of life’s little necessities.

5. One fingernail ___________ (was / were) polished with jade green lacquer.

Her fingernails ___________ (was / were) polished with jade green lacquer.