Agreements of Subject and Verb: A Must-Know in Effective Writing
As a writer, you may have heard of the expression “subject-verb agreement” time and again. For those who are new to writing or are not familiar with this term, it refers to matching the subject and verb of a sentence in terms of number and person. Simply put, if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular as well, and if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.
Subject-verb agreement may seem like a minor aspect of writing, but it plays a critical role in effective communication. Failure to follow this rule can lead to confusion and misinterpretation, which can negatively impact the reader`s understanding of the text`s message.
To avoid such ambiguity, it is essential to understand the agreements of subject and verb and their application in writing. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
1. Singular subjects take singular verbs, while plural subjects take plural verbs.
– The dog barks at the cat.
– The dogs bark at the cat.
2. When a subject comprises two or more nouns connected by “and,” it is considered plural, and thus, takes a plural verb.
– The book and the pen are on the table.
– The dogs and the cats play in the park.
3. When a subject comprises two or more nouns connected by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the noun closest to it.
– Neither the students nor the teacher was present in the classroom.
– Either the cat or the dog is responsible for the mess.
4. When a subject comprises collective nouns, where the individuals within the group act as a single unit, the verb can be either singular or plural, depending on the context of the sentence. If the group is acting as one unit, use a singular verb. If the individuals in the group are acting independently, use a plural verb.
– The team is playing well today. (Team acting as one unit)
– The team are arguing about their roles in the game. (Individuals acting independently)
5. Some subjects are always singular or always plural and should be treated as such.
– Mathematics is my favorite subject. (Singular)
– Scissors always come in pairs. (Plural)
In conclusion, the agreements of subject and verb are essential in writing to ensure clarity and understanding of the message. Paying attention to this rule may seem tedious, but it can significantly improve the quality of your writing and make it more effective. As a professional, I would advise anyone looking to improve their writing to familiarize themselves with this rule and apply it effectively in their writing.