Mr Subject disagrees with Mr Verb

It could also be argued that removing individual animals from the wild are potentially threatening the population of wild species.

This kind of subject verb agreement problem is penalised in IELTS writing and speaking.

  • It could also be argued that removing individual animals from the wild are potentially threatening the population of wild species.

In this sentence, the subject removing individual animals from the wild does not ‘agree’ with the verb are. This disagreement happens when the subject is singular and the verb is plural, or vice versa.

It’s possible that the writer was trying to make animals (plural) agree with the verb, and that’s why he or she chose are (also plural). However, the main noun in the subject is removing (singular), and so the sentence should read:

  • ..removing individual animals from the wild is potentially threatening..

Indonesian flag I’ve noticed that – at least among Indonesians – this error is extremely common when the main noun of a noun phrase is constructed using __ing, .

When you’re deciding how to make verbs agree with nouns, first of all identify which noun in the subject is the main noun. Then select your verb accordingly.

Try this quick practice activity:

Select words from the drop-down menus to complete the text. When you have finished, click 'Check your answers!' for feedback.

OK I understand

Hanging out with friends at the weekend lots of fun. On a typical Saturday, we go to the beach. Swimming when the waves are high one of our favourite activities. Towards the end of the day, if it’s really hot, drinking a few beers with friends not unusual.  Budi and Simon sometimes too much. Simon sometimes 5 beers before heading home!

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