Subject Verb Agreement for Dummies

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of English grammar that often confuses writers. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb of a sentence, which must match in number and person. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular, and the same goes for plural subjects and verbs.

To understand subject-verb agreement, let`s start with some basic examples:

– Mary eats pizza. (singular subject and verb)

– The dogs bark loudly. (plural subject and verb)

In the above sentences, the subject and verb agree in number and person, making the sentences grammatically correct.

Now, let`s look at some common mistakes made while writing:

1. Collective nouns

A collective noun refers to a group of people, animals, or things considered as a single entity. Examples of collective nouns include team, family, committee, staff, and audience.

When using collective nouns, writers often get confused about whether to use a singular or plural verb. The rule is to use a singular verb when the collective noun is acting as a single entity and a plural verb when talking about individuals in the group.

For instance:

– The team is playing well. (team as a single entity)

– The team are celebrating their victory. (individuals in the team)

2. Indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are words like everyone, someone, anybody, nobody, and each, which don`t refer to a specific person or thing. When using indefinite pronouns as the subject of a sentence, the verb must agree with the pronoun`s number.

For instance:

– Everybody loves pizza. (singular verb)

– Each of the students has their own book. (singular verb)

3. Compound subjects

A compound subject is when two or more nouns or pronouns act as the subject of a sentence. In this case, the verb must agree with the number and person of the subject closest to it.

For instance:

– My brother and I are going to the beach. (plural subject and verb)

Note that if the compound subject is joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.

For instance:

– Neither the cat nor the dog is sleeping. (singular verb)

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an important grammar rule that writers must follow to ensure clear and concise writing. By understanding the basic rules and avoiding common mistakes, you can improve your writing and make it more effective. So, keep practicing!

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