Subject verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of the English language. It refers to the match between the subject and the verb in a sentence. This means that the verb should agree with the number and person of the subject in any given sentence. In other words, if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular, and if the subject is plural, then the verb should also be plural.
Subject verb agreement can be tricky, and many people get it wrong more often than not. However, it`s essential to ensure that subject verb agreement is accurate in writing because it affects the overall meaning and coherence of the text. Here are some basic rules on subject verb agreement that every writer should follow:
1. Singular subjects take singular verbs.
When you have a singular subject in a sentence, the verb that follows must also be singular. For instance, “The cat walks on the table” is correct since the subject, cat, is singular, and the verb, walks, is also singular.
2. Plural subjects take plural verbs.
When you have plural subjects in a sentence, the verb that follows must also be plural. For example, “The dogs bark loudly” is correct since the subject, dogs, is plural, and the verb, bark, is plural as well.
3. Compound subjects take plural verbs.
When there are two or more subjects in a sentence joined by a conjunction such as ‘and’ or ‘or,’ the verb that follows must be plural. For instance, “Alice and her friends are going to the beach,” is correct since the subjects, Alice and her friends, are two or more and require a plural verb, are.
4. Indefinite pronouns take singular verbs.
Indefinite pronouns such as anyone, everybody, someone, everybody, etc., are considered singular and, therefore, require singular verbs. For example, “Everyone has finished their meal” should be “Everyone has finished his/her meal.”
5. Collective nouns take either singular or plural verbs.
Collective nouns, which refer to a group of people, animals, or things acting as one unit, can take either singular or plural verbs depending on their context. For example, “The team is playing well” uses a singular verb since the team is seen as a single unit while “The team members are discussing strategies” uses a plural verb since the members are seen as a group of individuals.
In conclusion, subject verb agreement is essential in writing, and writers should always strive to get it right. The above rules can serve as a guide to ensure accurate subject verb agreement. Remember to check your writing for correctness in subject verb agreement to enhance the overall clarity and coherence of your text.