Subject agreement is a crucial aspect of writing that ensures clarity and precision in communication. It refers to the grammatical agreement between the subject of a sentence and the verb that follows it. This agreement is essential in conveying the intended meaning of a sentence and avoiding confusion or ambiguity.
Subject-verb agreement is generally simple in English, as the verb typically agrees with the singular or plural form of the subject. However, there are certain cases where subject-verb agreement can be tricky, and it is important to be aware of these instances.
One of the common mistakes in subject agreement is when the subject and the verb are separated by a phrase or a clause. In such cases, it is important to ensure that the verb still agrees with the subject, regardless of any interrupting words. For example, “The boy, as well as his sisters, is going to the park” is incorrect, as “is” agrees with “boy,” which is singular, while “sisters” is plural. The correct sentence would be “The boy, as well as his sisters, are going to the park.”
Another common issue in subject agreement is with collective nouns, which refer to a group of people or things as a single entity. Examples of collective nouns include “team,” “jury,” “government,” and “family.” In such cases, the verb can either be singular or plural, depending on the context. For example, “The team is on the field” is correct, as “team” is considered a singular noun, while “The team are arguing about the match” is also correct, as “team” is being referred to as individuals, and therefore plural.
Furthermore, subject agreement can become tricky with indefinite pronouns such as “everyone,” “anyone,” and “someone.” These pronouns are singular and require a singular verb. For instance, “Everyone is responsible for their own actions” is correct, as “is” agrees with the singular pronoun “everyone.”
In summary, subject agreement is a critical element of writing that should not be overlooked. It involves ensuring that the verb agrees with the singular or plural form of the subject. To avoid common mistakes in subject agreement, always keep in mind the rules discussed above and make sure to proofread your writing carefully. By doing so, you can ensure that your writing is clear, grammatically correct and effectively communicates your message.