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Chris Lele

SAT Writing Essentials – Subject-Verb Agreement

Listen up! What I am about to tell you will boost your SAT score by as much as 50 points. That’s right – it’s SAT’s favorite grammar trap on the Writing Section: Subject-Verb Agreement error. (Misplaced modifier is its second favorite!).

Have a look at this identify the error sentence and see if you can spot the error.

1. The spread of the sea turtle to many reaches (A) of the world’s oceans do not (B) so much as (C) signal that the sea turtle has become a more robust species as it (D) does the effects of climate change.  No Error (E)



Even though I told you the name of the error to look for—Subject-Verb Agreement, which is also the name of the post—many will choose one of the other answers.

However, the sentence only has one grammatical error, and that is found in (B) do not. This should be changed to does not.

Now you may be thinking that oceans is plural, but the trick, and the reason why SAT loves Subject Verb Agreement errors so much is because they are so tricky to spot. Whenever you have a verb you must always identify what the subject of that verb is.

The subject of the verb comes before all of those prepositions (‘oceans’ and ‘reaches’ are both objects of the preposition). In this sentence the subject is ‘spread’ is singular, and therefore the verb should be does.



The Subject-Verb Agreement error is SAT’s favorite grammar trap—be on the look out for it. One great way is to do SAT practice exercises. Speaking of which, check out the Subject-Verb Agreement quiz!

About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.

You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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