Verbs and Subject-Verb Agreement: The Importance of Clear and Correct Language
As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of my job is ensuring that the text I work with is not only clear and coherent, but also accurate and grammatically correct. And when it comes to grammar, one of the fundamental rules that cannot be overlooked is subject-verb agreement.
In essence, subject-verb agreement refers to the fact that a verb must agree with its subject in number and person. This means that if the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb must also be singular (e.g. “he walks,” “she sings”). Conversely, if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural (e.g. “they walk,” “we sing”).
Why is subject-verb agreement so important? For one thing, it helps to create clarity and coherence in writing. When the verb and subject agree, it makes it easier for readers to understand what is being communicated, as the connection between the two is clear and logical.
Moreover, correct subject-verb agreement is essential for ensuring professionalism and credibility in writing. When texts are riddled with errors in grammar and syntax, it can detract from the overall impact and effectiveness of the message being conveyed.
So how can you ensure that your writing is free from subject-verb agreement errors? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Identify the subject of the sentence: Before you can determine which verb you should use, you need to identify the subject of the sentence. This can be a noun, pronoun, or even a clause.
2. Determine whether the subject is singular or plural: Once you know what the subject is, you need to determine whether it is singular or plural. This will dictate which form of the verb you should use.
3. Use the appropriate verb form: Once you know whether the subject is singular or plural, choose the appropriate verb form to match. For singular subjects, use the base form of the verb (e.g. “walk,” “sings”), while for plural subjects, use the form that adds an “s” to the end (e.g. “walks,” “sing”).
4. Watch out for tricky cases: There are certain cases where subject-verb agreement can be more complex. For example, when the subject consists of two nouns joined by “and,” the verb should be plural. However, when the subject consists of two nouns joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the noun closest to it.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule of grammar that cannot be ignored in writing. By paying close attention to the subject and verb in each sentence, and using the appropriate form of the verb, you can ensure that your writing is clear, coherent, and professional. So the next time you`re editing a text, be sure to keep subject-verb agreement in mind, and watch your writing soar to new heights of clarity and effectiveness.