Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Subject and Verb Agreement: Using Literature

David Gingold


Given two excerpts from a classic literary novel, language arts students will identify and correct the discrepancies in subject and verb agreement.


The student understands that there are patterns and rules in semantic structure, symbols, sounds, and meanings conveyed through the English language.


-[The Golden Ass] by Apuleius, translated by Robert Graves.
-Three previously chosen and grammmatically doctored excerpts from the aforementioned novel.
-Markers and overhead projector or chalk/dry-erase board
-Print/photocopy of one excerpt for each class member
-Pen or pencil


1. Obtain copy of [The Golden Ass] by Apuleius, translated by Robert Graves.
2. Have book passages written on board or on overhead projector.
3. Have all class photocopies completed and ready to be distributed.


1. I will ask students whether they think subject and verb agreement matters in our language. After hearing their answers, I will ask for their attention as I endeavor to prove to them that having subjects and verbs in agreement is essential for having a clear and understandable message.

2. I will give an overview of a few essential rules for subject and verb agreement, then pause for any questions.

3. Having been written or else projected for the class to see, I will read a very small portion of the pre-determined literary fragment while the class reads along.

4. Noting that I have added mistakes, which are underlined, I will ask for volunteers to help correct the mistakes one at a time.

5. I will direct students' attention to a second passage; there are errors, but this time they are not underlined. Class members will volunteer answers that identify an error and offer a correction.

6. Time is taken to address any questions or concerns.

7. A third excerpt will be distributed. Individually, students must draw a line through all mistakes, providing the necessary correction in the space above.

8. Teacher will assess the activity.


The students will receive a copy of a third excerpt to critique individually. They are expected to find all of the mistakes in subject and verb agreement that I have placed within the text. When a mistake is found, students should cross out the word in question and write the correction in the space provided above the text.

-There will be a total of five mistakes worth ten points.
-Identifying a mistake is worth half a point.
-Providing the necessary correction to a mistake is worth one-and-a-half points.

Students scoring less than seven points on the assignment will be given back their assignments with corrections and an additional excerpt to correct in order to make up their loss of points on the former assignment. The motivation for doing so will be the opportunity to have their previous score erased in favor of a better grade. This option will be open to all students.
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