Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical rule that governs the agreement between the subject and the verb in a sentence. In simple terms, it means that the verb must agree with the subject in terms of number and person.
What does subject-verb agreement mean?
Subject-verb agreement means that the verb must match with the subject of the sentence in terms of number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, third). In other words, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. Similarly, if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.
For example, “He runs fast” is a correct sentence as the subject “he” is singular, and the verb “runs” also agrees with it in terms of number and person. However, “They runs fast” is an incorrect sentence as the subject “they” is plural, and the verb “runs” is singular.
Why is subject-verb agreement important?
Subject-verb agreement is important in writing and speaking to ensure clarity, precision, and grammatical correctness. Incorrect subject-verb agreement can lead to confusion and can make your writing or speech seem unprofessional. It can also affect the meaning of the sentence and lead to communication problems.
For example, “The group of students is happy” is correct as the subject “group” is singular, even though it refers to multiple students. However, “The group of students are happy” is incorrect as the subject “group” is singular, and the verb “are” is plural, which can lead to confusion about the actual number of happy students.
How can you improve subject-verb agreement in your writing?
To improve subject-verb agreement in your writing, you can follow these tips:
1. Identify the subject: Before writing the sentence, identify the subject to ensure that the verb agrees with it in terms of number and person.
2. Watch out for collective nouns: Collective nouns, such as “team” or “family,” can be singular or plural, depending on the situation. Make sure to use the appropriate verb form according to the intended meaning.
3. Use plural forms for compound subjects: When there are two or more subjects joined by “and,” use the plural form of the verb.
4. Be careful with indefinite pronouns: Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone” or “somebody,” are always singular and should be matched with a singular verb form.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a critical rule in English grammar that ensures clarity and precision in writing and speaking. To improve your writing, you must pay attention to the subject-verb agreement to avoid grammatical errors and confusion.