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Proofreading for Errors in Subject-Verb Agreement


These two proofreading exercises will give you practice in applying the rules of subject-verb agreement. After completing the exercises, compare your responses with the answers on page two.

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1. Proofreading Exercise: A Fluke of Luck
The following paragraph contains five errors in subject-verb agreement. Identify and correct the faulty verb forms.

The sheep-liver fluke is a parasitic flatworm with a very complex life cycle. The fluke start life by hatching inside a snail. The fluke is then ejected from the snail in a ball of slime. These balls of slime is eaten by ants. The fluke digs its way through the ant's body until it reach the ant's brain. There, the fluke takes control of the ant by manipulating its nerves, thus turning the ant into its personal robot. Under the command of the fluke, the ant climb to the top of a blade of grass. If the fluke is in luck, the ant is eaten by a passing sheep. From the sheep's stomach, the fluke work its way home--to the liver.

2. Proofreading Exercise: Life Forms
The following paragraph contains seven errors in subject-verb agreement. Identify and correct the faulty verb forms.

Anomie Plaza, like all shopping plazas, were designed for automobiles rather than human beings. All natural life has been extinguished; even the weeds along the curb appears artificial. But somehow, amidst all the plastic, steel, and concrete, a solitary shrub manage to survive. The shrub, not in vigorous bloom but certainly alive, stand a few yards away from the entrance to Huxley's department store. It grows straight up through the concrete. Now and then a shopper pause to examine this odd life form, not for sale in any of the 67 stores. Occasionally, someone will glance around furtively and then break off a twig, slip it into a shopping bag, and hurry back to the parking lot. Why people do this are a mystery to me. Are such people intent on preserving life or destroying it? Whatever the case may be, the shrub so far have managed to survive all assaults.

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