I have a sentence that I am reasonably happy with, and it reads:

I pray that your honest efforts pave the way for your success.

Why shouldn't it be:

I pray that your honest efforts paves the way for your success.

It seems to be alright if I use:

I pray that your honest effort paves the way for your success.

What part of grammar do I need to learn in order to remove such confusion when forming sentences?

  • 2
    You need to learn subject-verb agreement.
    – Mick
    Dec 29, 2016 at 7:51
  • @Mick thank you so much. It was such a basic question I believe but this is the best site from which a beginner like me can learn and grow. Should I delete this question?
    – user6177394
    Dec 29, 2016 at 7:58
  • No. Leave it up. It may be useful if someone tidies it up a bit.
    – Mick
    Dec 29, 2016 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


The subject of the two sentences you quote is either effort or efforts. The first is singular, the second is plural.

When using effort (singular) use the proper conjugation of the verb 'to pave': 3rd person singular = 'paves'.

When using efforts (plural noun) use the proper conjugation: 3rd person plural = 'pave'.

Simplify the sentence to see it more clearly:

My efforts pave the way

Your efforts pave the way.

His efforts pave the way.

Our efforts pave the way


My effort paves the way


Do not be confused by the possessive pronoun. My effort, your effort, his effort, our effort: those all take the 3rd person singular form of the verb. I pave the way, but my effort paves the way.

  • This cleared everything! :)
    – Shad
    Jan 25, 2017 at 3:09

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