Singular or plural?
One way native English speakers notice a non-native speaker is when they use either a singular or a plural incorrectly. The subject of the sentence and the verb must agree with each other. So, if the subject is singular then the verb must be too. The same goes for plurals.
In the present tense, in a singular sentence the noun takes the s and the verb is plain. In a plural sentence the verb takes the s and the noun is plain.
・The dog eats the food.
・The dogs eat the food.
When we make a compound of two subjects it is always a singular;
・The dog and the cat eat the food.
The difficulty comes from when we split the subject at the verb with clauses that confuse the speaker.
For the example;
・The can of Japanese beer sit on the shelf. X
・The can of Japanese beer sits on the shelf.
This is made even more obvious when a speaker uses the wrong auxillary verb; the key here is that they always match the subject of the sentence.
・The man who makes furniture are friendly. X
・The man who makes furniture is friendly.
Lets practice, try to find all the mistakes in the paragraph below:
The dog chase the cat around the corner but the cat escape by jumping into an open window. The man in the room are watching TV and is very surprised by the cats sudden appearance. He stand and knock his food off the table. The cat, who doesn’t stop to apologize, flee for the next room. Then, the dog, who follows the cat into the window, start to eat the food.