As a copy editor, one essential aspect of writing that I often come across is the subject-verb agreement in a sentence. This agreement is crucial because it helps to convey the intended message effectively.
What is subject-verb agreement?
The subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that requires the subject of a sentence to agree with the verb in number. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular too, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural as well.
For example, „The dog barks“ is a sentence with a singular subject „dog,“ and a singular verb „barks.“ In contrast, „The dogs bark“ is a sentence with a plural subject „dogs,“ and a plural verb „bark.“
Why is subject-verb agreement important?
Subject-verb agreement is essential for clarity and comprehension in writing. If subject and verb do not agree in number, it can cause confusion, and the reader may not understand the intended meaning. For instance, „The dogs barks“ is incorrect, and the reader may wonder if there is only one dog or if it was a typo.
Moreover, using incorrect subject-verb agreement can make the writer appear unprofessional and lack credibility, which can harm their reputation.
Tips for ensuring subject-verb agreement
1. Identify the subject of the sentence, and determine if it is singular or plural.
2. Apply the appropriate verb form by making it singular or plural to match the subject.
3. Be aware of tricky subjects such as collective nouns, which appear singular but can take a singular or plural verb form depending on the context. For example, „The committee agrees“ is singular, but „The committee members agree“ is plural.
4. Check for subject-verb agreement in complex sentences with multiple subjects. Ensure each subject agrees with the verb in number, and if the subjects are different, use a plural verb form.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is crucial in writing to ensure clarity and comprehension of the intended message. By following the tips mentioned above, we can ensure that our writing is grammatically correct, effective, and professional.