Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule of grammar that can have a significant impact on the clarity and readability of your writing. When a sentence has a subject and a verb, they ought to agree in number (singular or plural). In this article, we will take a closer look at the subjective of agreement.
Subject-verb agreement is based on the principle that a subject and a verb must agree in number. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. This is a simple rule, but it is essential to follow if you want to write clear and grammatically correct sentences.
One area of subjective agreement that writers often struggle with is when the subject is a collective noun. Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things but are singular in form. Examples include “team,” “group,” “committee,” and “family.” Despite being singular in form, they can be treated as either singular or plural depending on the context.
When referring to a collective noun as a single entity, use a singular verb. For example, “The team is playing well” is correct because the team is being referred to as a single unit. On the other hand, when referring to the individuals within the collective, use a plural verb. For example, “The team members are all wearing matching uniforms” is correct because the members are being referred to as individuals.
Another area of subjective agreement that can be confusing is when the subject is a compound subject. A compound subject involves two or more subjects joined by “and.” In this case, use a plural verb. For example, “The dog and the cat are sleeping” is correct because there are two subjects.
However, if the two subjects are joined by “or,” use a verb that agrees with the subject closest to the verb. For example, “Either the dog or the cat is responsible for knocking over the vase” is correct because “cat” is singular.
In conclusion, subjective agreement is an essential aspect of English grammar, and it is crucial to get it right if you want to write clear and understandable sentences. Remember to pay attention to collective nouns and compound subjects when deciding whether to use a singular or plural verb. By following these rules, you can improve the quality of your writing and make it easier to read and understand.