Identifying the number of verbs

Just like nouns and pronouns, a verb must also agree with its subject in Number and Person.

Verbs are the action words in a sentence that describe what the subject is doing.

Verbs have three persons (first, second and third) and two numbers (singular and plural).

The singular number denotes a single person or thing. The plural number denotes more than one person or thing.

Let's see the transformation of verbs with relation to tense, number, person of the subject etc.

The change that happens to verbs with the change in tense or person of the subject is known as conjugation.'

Let's understand how verbs are conjugated based on numbers.

The verb takes different forms in singular and plural.

For example, for a singular subject, the verb will be ‘is’ whereas for a plural subject, it will be ‘are’.

Let’s look at another example. The singular verb would be ‘chases’ whereas the plural verb would be ‘chase’.

Notice that for the singular subject- dog, ‘s’ is added to the verb (chases). This is the singular verb.

For singular verbs, we add -s or -es at the end.

For the plural number, there’s no such addition at the end (dogs chase).

Again, the singular form would be ‘has talked’ whereas the plural form would be ‘have talked’.

The verb in singular and plural form will vary based on tenses.

Let's identify the use of singular verbs in some detail.

A singular person needs a singular verb.

While the first person and second person singular verb will not have an ‘s’ or ‘es’ at the end...

...Third person singular verbs are special. They end with –s or -es. Ex: He ‘does’ his homework.

Let's look at the use of plural verbs in some detail.

A Plural subject needs a Plural verb. The verb normally stays the same for all persons.

Ex. “We are dancing,” “You all are dancing’” and “They are dancing.”

Notice that the verb ‘are dancing’ doesn’t conjugate differently for the first, second or third person subjects.

It’s time for a Quick RECAP.

Verb is a word used to describe an action, or state. It is also called a ‘doing word’.

“Number” refers to number of subjects involved in the action. They are Singular and Plural.

In this part of the story, we learnt about various forms a verb can take based on the number of subjects.