As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of my job is ensuring that all content is grammatically correct and follows proper agreement rules. However, I also know that it`s not always easy to keep track of all the different rules, especially when it comes to subject-verb agreement. That`s why I`ve compiled a list of agreement tips to help you improve your writing and make sure your content is polished and error-free.
1. Make sure your subject and verb agree in number.
This is perhaps the most basic agreement rule, but it`s also one of the most important. Simply put, your subject and verb must agree in number. If your subject is singular, your verb should be singular as well. If your subject is plural, your verb should be plural.
– Correct: The dog barks.
– Incorrect: The dog bark.
2. Be careful with collective nouns.
Collective nouns refer to groups of people, animals, or things, such as « team, » « family, » or « flock. » When using collective nouns, it can be tricky to determine whether the subject is singular or plural. In general, if you are referring to the group as a whole, use a singular verb. If you are referring to the individual members of the group, use a plural verb.
– Correct: The team is playing well.
– Correct: The players are working hard.
3. Check for subject-verb agreement with compound subjects.
When you have a compound subject (i.e. two or more subjects connected by « and »), make sure your verb agrees with the entire subject. If the subjects are both singular, use a singular verb. If the subjects are both plural, use a plural verb.
– Correct: John and Sarah are going to the party.
– Correct: The dog and the cat are playing together.
4. Watch out for prepositional phrases.
Prepositional phrases can sometimes make it difficult to determine the subject of a sentence. If you have a prepositional phrase (i.e. a phrase that starts with a preposition like « in, » « on, » or « through »), make sure your subject-verb agreement still holds true.
– Correct: The book on the table belongs to me.
– Correct: The books on the table belong to me.
5. Don`t forget about indefinite pronouns.
Indefinite pronouns like « everyone, » « someone, » and « anything » are tricky because they can be either singular or plural depending on the context. In general, it`s safest to treat them as singular subjects and use singular verbs.
– Correct: Everyone is here.
– Incorrect: Everyone are here.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and polished. Remember, good writing is not just about having great ideas – it`s also about presenting those ideas in a clear and effective way. So take the time to check your subject-verb agreement and watch your writing improve!