I am reading SAT sentence correction tips and I can not get my head around the tip "
Verb-Subject Mismatch" . What does it mean?
SAT tests are produced by poor, misguided souls who know nothing about language and try to make language conform to the irregularities of their own ideas. Very importantly for any language learner taking a SAT test, you need to understand that these tests are not designed for language learners. They are designed to trip up native speakers. To do a SAT test well, you need to understand what dumb ideas about grammar SAT testers have. Then you need to try and see which dumb idea fits the question that you're looking at and then show which answer the examiner thinks is wrong - even if it's perfectly correct.
Verb-Subject Mismatch has been given as a tip because of a dumb idea that SAT examiners have about Subject-verb agreement. SAT examiners believe that the grammatical number of the Subject (whether the Subject has a singular or plural noun phrase) decides whether the verb should have a plural or singular form. Consider this example:
- The board has all now had their one-to-one meetings with the CEO.
- The board have all now had their one-to-one meetings with the CEO.
In real English, the second sentence is better than the first. The reason is that we are thinking about the board as a group of individuals. In real English, it is the notional number of the Subject that is important. It is how we are thinking about the Subject that decides whether we use singular or plural verb agreement. In the fantasy world of SAT English, sentence number (2) is wrong. Their theory is that the board is singular and therefore we need the singular form has instead of the plural form have, as in the first example. However, any native speaker who can understand what good English is, will tell you that number (1) is an awful sentence.
Now, I've chosen examples that show exactly how bad the SAT thinking is. But you are unlikely to see a sentence that makes an outright mockery of their idiot version of English grammar in public. So what you will find is that you will be faced with a good grammatical sentence which you need to "correct". You need to watch out for ones where the technical number of the Subject is not reflected in the verb form.
Don't get angry about this! Don't get depressed! It's actually very good fun spotting what mad problems SAT testers see in different sentences!
Remember golden rule number two of any exams like SAT, TEFL, TOEFL and so forth:
Give the monkeys what they want!