On SAT, you need to be able to iden­ti­fy the verbs before you can search for their sub­jects. Some stu­dents mis­tak­en­ly think that fluc­tu­at­ing and swing­ing are verbs in this sen­tence. How­ev­er, to fluc­tu­ate is called an infini­tive (to hate, to run,…) and the swing is called a grind (run, cook, explode,…). You‘ve prob­a­bly heard of infini­tives in French-Span­ish or Span­ish teach­ing, where it‘s the root form of a verb before com­bin­ing it. It‘s the same in Eng­lish. Infini­tive and Gerunds are not verbs, so there is no need to search for a sub­ject-verb arrange­ment. The only real verb in this exam­ple is Likes. Again, tannes and infini­ties are nev­er verbs. Don‘t waste time look­ing for their sub­jects. These last three exam­ples show that the sub­ject can appear accord­ing to the verb, some­thing the SAT likes to trip up to the students.

To choose the right verb, we must first find the sub­ject. Let‘s start by apply­ing what was learned in a pre­vi­ous chap­ter and cross the prepo­si­tion sen­tences: this is where we have to find the sub­jects for two verbs. Check the prepo­si­tion­Phrase and the rel­a­tive clause: The sub­ject is a Nos­tun (per­son, place or thing) that is the “doer” or “main char­ac­ter­is­tic” in the sen­tence. A verb is a word of action. Think of the sim­ple phras­es above and how dif­fi­cult it would be to have verbs that do not agree with the sub­ject. You don‘t even need to know what the sub­ject and verb of each sen­tence is to know that it‘s com­pli­cat­ed. Now, the SAT isn‘t going to make it any eas­i­er for you. They will delib­er­ate­ly try to fool your ear. In exam­ple 19, the sec­ond was not nec­es­sary, as the first serves as a use­ful verb for going and dis­cussing. If we inferred all the details of the sen­tence, he would read, I went and I spoke… which is a gram­mat­i­cal­ly fine sen­tence. After all, the SAT likes to put more than one verb in the same sentence.

In this way, one of the verbs can be buried deep­er in the sen­tence to deceive your ear. In these ques­tions, divide the whole thing in half and make sure the two verbs match. Anoth­er ques­tion you might see is where the verb is in a sen­tence or clause that you would nor­mal­ly cross. For exam­ple, if you are not always sure that a verb as a show is sin­gu­lar or plur­al, test it by putting it in front and ask­ing your­self what seems more accu­rate: you might think that the verb should be plur­al, because the phrase men­tions both jew­el­ry and cards, but because of the kommaphrase, the sub­ject is only jewelry.