Subject-verb agreement is one of the fundamental grammatical rules in English. It involves ensuring that the verb in a sentence agrees with the subject, both in number and person. A common mistake that many people make when writing is struggling to maintain consistency in subject-verb agreement. In this article, we will take a closer look at subject-verb agreement and the most common mistakes that people make.
Subject-verb agreement refers to matching the number and person of a subject with the corresponding verb in a sentence. The number of a subject can be either singular or plural, while the person can be either first, second, or third-person. For instance, "he runs" is an example of a sentence with subject-verb agreement, while "he run" is incorrect. "He" is a third-person singular subject that requires a corresponding singular verb "runs."
One of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to subject-verb agreement is when the subject and verb are separated by a phrase or clause. When this occurs, the writer may lose sight of the subject, resulting in a mismatch between the subject and the verb. For instance, "The boy, along with his friends, were laughing" is incorrect because "boy" is a singular subject, while "were" is a plural verb.
Another common mistake that people make is when they use collective nouns. Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things, such as "team," "family," or "audience." Typically, collective nouns are singular, and thus require a singular verb. For instance, "The team is playing well" is correct, while "The team are playing well" is incorrect.
In some cases, writers may experience difficulty when using compound subjects. Compound subjects refer to sentences that have more than one subject. When a sentence has multiple subjects joined by "and," it is considered a compound subject. Compound subjects are plural, and thus require a corresponding plural verb. For instance, "John and Sarah are going to the store" is correct, while "John and Sarah is going to the store" is incorrect.
Lastly, another common mistake that people make is when they use indefinite pronouns such as "everyone" or "anyone." Indefinite pronouns are singular and thus require a corresponding singular verb. For example, "Everyone is entitled to their opinion" is correct, while "Everyone are entitled to their opinion" is incorrect.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule in English grammar that ensures clarity and coherence in communication. By maintaining consistency in subject-verb agreement, writers can convey their message more effectively and avoid confusion. As an experienced copyeditor, it is crucial to be knowledgeable about the most common mistakes that people make concerning subject-verb agreement to produce high-quality content.
Published by: davefletcher