Proper subject-verb agreement is crucial when it comes to writing sentences that are grammatically correct and easy to read. In simple terms, subject-verb agreement refers to ensuring that the subject and verb in a sentence match in number and person. This means that a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject calls for a plural verb.
For instance, in the sentence “She plays the guitar,” the subject “she” is singular and requires the verb “plays,” which is also in the singular form. On the other hand, in the sentence “They play the guitar,” the subject “they” is plural and requires the verb “play,” which is also in the plural form.
There are a few common errors that people make when it comes to subject-verb agreement. These include:
– Using a plural verb with a singular subject: This can occur when a writer mistakenly treats a singular noun as though it were plural. For instance, “The team are playing well” should be “The team is playing well” since “team” is a singular noun.
– Using a singular verb with a plural subject: This is the opposite of the above error, where a writer mistakenly treats a plural noun as a singular one. For example, “The men was playing soccer” should be “The men were playing soccer” since “men” is a plural noun.
– Using an incorrect verb form with a compound subject: When a sentence has a compound subject (i.e. two or more subjects joined by “and”), the verb should be plural. For example, “Tom and Jerry is a famous cartoon” should be “Tom and Jerry are a famous cartoon” since “Tom and Jerry” is a compound subject.
– Using an incorrect verb form with a collective noun: A collective noun refers to a group of people or things, such as “team,” “family,” or “herd.” Depending on the context, collective nouns can be treated as either singular or plural. For instance, “The family is going on vacation” treats “family” as a singular noun, while “The family are arguing” treats “family” as a plural noun.
Understanding proper subject-verb agreement is important not just for writing grammatically correct sentences, but also for improving your overall writing ability. By paying attention to the relationship between subjects and verbs in your writing, you can ensure that your message comes across clearly and effectively.