Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of writing that plays a crucial role in conveying your message effectively. It refers to the correct usage of the verb that agrees with the subject in terms of number, person, and tense. Failing to follow this rule can result in grammatically incorrect sentences that can confuse or mislead the reader.
In general, the subject-verb agreement rule states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb. For example, “He runs” is correct, while “He run” is incorrect. Similarly, “They run” is correct, while “They runs” is incorrect. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule that can be confusing, such as collective nouns and subjects connected by “or” and “nor.”
When dealing with collective nouns, it is essential to determine whether the noun is acting as a single unit or as separate individuals. For instance, the sentence “The team is playing” is correct because the team, although composed of several members, acts as a single unit. However, the sentence “The team are arguing” is also correct because the team is acting as separate individuals in this case.
When subjects are connected by “or” or “nor,” the verb must agree with the subject closest to it. For example, the sentence “Neither the dog nor the cats are allowed outside” is correct because the subject closest to the verb is plural (cats).
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that should be followed to ensure clear and effective communication. As a writer or editor, it is crucial to pay attention to the number, person, and tense of the subject and the verb to avoid grammatical errors that can affect the meaning of the sentence. By following these simple guidelines, you can write error-free sentences that deliver your message accurately.