Discuss Subject and Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is an essential element of proper English grammar. It refers to the consistency between the subject and verb in a sentence, ensuring that they agree in number and person. This means that a singular subject must take a singular verb, and a plural subject must take a plural verb. Not paying attention to subject-verb agreement can result in ambiguous or incorrect sentence structures that can impact the clarity and meaning of your content.

Let`s take a closer look at subject-verb agreement and some common mistakes that writers make.

Singular Subjects and Verbs

When a sentence has a singular subject, the verb that follows it must also be singular. For example:

Incorrect: The dog and the cat loves to play together.

Correct: The dog and the cat love to play together.

In the incorrect example, the verb “loves” is singular, which is incorrect as the sentence has two subjects. Instead, we should use the plural verb “love” to make the sentence grammatically correct.

Plural Subjects and Verbs

Similarly, when a sentence has a plural subject, the verb that follows it should also be plural. For example:

Incorrect: My sister and I was at the party last night.

Correct: My sister and I were at the party last night.

The incorrect example has a singular verb “was,” but the subject in the sentence is plural. Therefore, it should use the plural verb “were” to make the sentence grammatically correct.

Compound Subjects

Compound subjects are formed when two or more subjects are connected with coordinating conjunctions such as “and,” “or,” and “nor.” In such sentences, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For instance:

Incorrect: Mary or her friends is coming to the party tonight.

Correct: Mary or her friends are coming to the party tonight.

In the incorrect example, the singular verb “is” is used for the compound subject “Mary or her friends.” However, the subject closest to the verb is “friends,” which is plural. Therefore, we should use the plural verb “are” to make the sentence grammatically correct.

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns like “everyone,” “nobody,” and “anything” are singular and require a singular verb. For example:

Incorrect: Nobody were able to complete the task.

Correct: Nobody was able to complete the task.

In the incorrect example, the plural verb “were” is used with the singular subject “nobody.” Instead, we should use the singular verb “was” to make the sentence grammatically correct.

Conclusion

Subject-verb agreement is an important aspect of English grammar that writers must pay attention to. By following these simple rules, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your content is clear, concise, and grammatically correct. Remember to treat each sentence individually and identify the subject and verb to ensure they agree in number and person. With practice, subject-verb agreement will become second nature, and your writing will be more polished and effective.