Let me give you a few examples of mistakes made by people. 6. If there is an adverb between the subject and the verb, some students seem to think that the adverb somehow changes the rules: it never works. / My mother loves chocolate. Again, it`s hard to tell if they work intuitively (“It always goes weirdly!”), so the most sensible thing is to explain them/remember that the adverb makes no difference. Similarly, I do not think we can automatically consider that the rules of subject/verb agreement naturally move to other structures. For example, if they present and practice what is called the first condition, it is probably a good idea to remind students that we should say, “If he goes away…” instead of “if he goes away… ». Just tell them that they have to use the simple gift in the if clause, it just won`t cut. At least, not in my experience.
2. I believe that we should help students gradually move from lexical, intuitive and often unpredictable use of the third person S to more systematic and conscious mapping and provision of the underlying systems. Here`s a rule of thumb: If your student makes an object/verb chord error, you don`t automatically think it`s just a loss of power at the surface – a skid, if you will. That`s right, “He loves football,” “You have a car” are performance slips beyond A1. But there could be more – and I might say – more than the eye on (a) “My friends love,” (b) “Everyone knows” and (c) “She always plays.” Let me tell you about each case one after the other. Alex, Brazilian students are making the same mistake. There is no quick fix, I think, so I try a mixture of:1. L1 vs.
L2 Contrast: I show students why they do it wrong and contrast English and Portuguese. I think (consciousness) is the first step.2. Systematic correction in the field. In the field, that doesn`t mean in the middle of the sentence – I`m waiting for the students to finish the sentence.3 Patience: some mistakes take a little longer to disappear… What`s wrong with that sentence? The subject and the verb do not agree. What for? Because the subject is in a singular form and the verb is plural. Consistent writing can never fulfill its good conditions without verb subject agreement. A really interesting and thoughtful contribution, with a lot of good points. I never thought about it, but I think you`re right with one`s leads to another – perhaps because -s is the way we report in the plural and third person? I also agree with you on corrections at higher levels that help students to point it out and rephrase it. One of my former colleagues had an excellent technique. he would draw an “S” on the palm of his hand and simply enlighten it on the learners when they made a 3rd person underpants.
This had the effect of drawing their attention to the error without breaking the flow of what they were saying. 7. For better or worse, word/word agreement errors do little to hinder communication. This means that if you are a teacher who tends to prioritize errors that hinder comprehension, they tend to ignore subject/verb errors when speaking, because the student was ultimately able to get the message across.