Grammar Subject-Verb Agreement Practice: Tips for Effective Writing
As a copy editor, one of the most common grammar mistakes I come across is subject-verb agreement errors. Subject-verb agreement is the proper matching of a subject with the appropriate verb form. When a subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and when the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
Subject-verb agreement is important because it affects the clarity and coherence of your writing. A mistake in subject-verb agreement can confuse a reader and even change the meaning of a sentence. In this article, we`ll discuss some tips for effective subject-verb agreement practice to help improve your writing.
1. Identify the subject and verb
Before you start writing, make sure you identify the subject and the verb in your sentence. The subject is the main actor in the sentence, while the verb is the action or state of being. Once you have identified them, check that they match in number (singular or plural).
Incorrect: The group of students at the library is studying hard.
Correct: The group of students at the library are studying hard.
In the above example, «group» is the subject, which is singular. The verb «are» is the correct form to match the plural noun «students».
2. Watch out for collective nouns
A collective noun is a singular noun that represents a group of people or things. Some examples include team, family, committee, audience, and government. The tricky part about collective nouns is that they can be singular or plural, depending on the context.
Incorrect: The government are working on a new policy.
Correct: The government is working on a new policy.
In this example, «government» is a collective noun that is singular in this context. Therefore, the correct verb form to use is «is».
3. Be consistent
One of the most important aspects of subject-verb agreement is consistency. If you start with a singular subject, make sure you use a singular verb throughout your sentence. The same goes for a plural subject and verb.
Incorrect: The dog barks loudly and wag their tail.
Correct: The dog barks loudly and wags its tail.
In this example, «dog» is singular, so «wags» is the correct verb form instead of «wag».
4. Use the right verb form for irregular verbs
There are many verbs that have irregular forms in past tense and past participles. It`s important to use the correct verb form when writing in the present tense.
Incorrect: The children has eaten their lunch.
Correct: The children have eaten their lunch.
In the above example, «have» is the correct verb form to use with the plural subject «children».
Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of effective writing. By practicing these tips, you`ll be able to avoid common subject-verb agreement errors and create writing that is clear, concise, and coherent. Remember to identify the subject and verb, watch out for collective nouns, be consistent, and use the right verb form for irregular verbs. Happy writing!