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Subject Verb Agreement

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The first Swiss chocolate factory was built in 1819. The man who founded it was in his early 20s and had been working as an "immigrant labourer" in Italy for four years because the chocolate he saw at a Swiss fair smelled so good! This short list of Swiss chocolate makers  Swiss chocolate makers can be used for Excellent Examples about entrepreneurship, determination, and dedication. 

4/29 Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E.

Remember to read through the sentence for anything that sounds strange, then focus on the part that must be changed to correct the error. If nothing sounds strange to you, check all the options against the rules of English grammar. After checking each option, if none of them are wrong, select choice E.

An abundant supply of milk from dairy farms nearby make the Bern region of Switzerland a leading producer of condensed milk and milk chocolate. No error



Subject-verb agreement errors can be tricky to spot because the test makers use tricks to hide the errors in their sentences. In this case, they separated the subject from the verb with prepositional phrases. When you want to check subject-verb agreement, eliminating prepositional phrases is a good way to simplify the sentence so you can see what's really important.

An abundant supply [of milk] [from dairy farms nearby] make the Bern region [of Switzerland] a leading producer [of condensed milk and milk chocolate]. 

An abundant supply make the Bern region a leading producer. 

Note: Normally, all prepositional phrases end with nouns or pronouns. I eliminated "nearby" with the second prepositional phrase because it describes the word "farms" and would not make sense in the sentence by itself.

Now that the sentence has been shortened, look at the verb "make." It looks fine, so check it against the subject of the sentence. What makes? The abundant supply makes. You can correct almost all subject-verb agreement errors this way almost effortlessly IF you can correctly identify the subject and verb.

Before committing to C, check the other answer choices.

A: "An abundant supply." "An" is an article, a special adjective that indicates what kind of noun is being discussed. There is a difference between "a book" and "the book," "an elephant" and "the elephant." "An" is used correctly here.

B: "from dairy farms." "From" is a preposition. It introduces the phrase "from dairy farms nearby," which modifies the noun "supply." "From" is used correctly.

D: "a leading producer." This phrase is called an "object complement" because it complements, or completes, the direct object of the sentence. The direct object of a sentence is the noun or pronoun that receives the action of the sentence. In this case, the direct object is "the Bern region." Of course an abundant supply of milk didn't make the Bern region; the supply of milk made the region into something. The object complement clarifies what the region became. (The object complement construction is somewhat rare; it most often turns up in sentences like, "We elected him president.") This phrase is used correctly.

The answer is C.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 62% of responses were correct.


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