Examples of Basic Rules of Subject Verb Agreement
As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of writing is subject verb agreement. This refers to the way in which a subject (the person, place, thing or idea that a sentence is about) relates to the verb (the action word that describes what the subject is doing). The basic rules of subject verb agreement are essential for clear and concise writing, and can have a major impact on the credibility and readability of your content. In this article, we will explore some common examples of subject verb agreement to help you create strong and effective writing.
1. Singular subjects take singular verbs: When a subject is singular (referring to one person, place, thing or idea), the verb that follows it must also be singular. For example, “The dog barks” is a correct sentence because “dog” is a singular subject and “barks” is a singular verb. However, if you were to say “The dog bark,” it would be incorrect because the verb does not agree with the singular subject.
2. Plural subjects take plural verbs: Similarly, when a subject is plural (referring to more than one person, place, thing or idea), the verb that follows it must also be plural. For example, “The dogs bark” is correct because “dogs” is a plural subject and “bark” is a plural verb. On the other hand, “The dogs barks” is incorrect because the verb does not agree with the plural subject.
3. The number of the subject determines the verb form: In some cases, the subject and verb may seem to be mismatched, but in fact they are in agreement because they follow the same grammatical rule. For example, “Each of the students is studying” is correct because “each” is a singular subject, even though “students” is plural. Similarly, “Neither the car nor the driver was injured” is correct because “neither” is a singular subject, even though there are two elements involved in the sentence.
4. Verbs that end in -s or -es are usually singular: Verbs that end in -s or -es are usually singular, and are used when the subject is also singular. For example, “She walks to school” is correct because “walks” is a singular verb that agrees with the singular subject “she.” On the other hand, if you were to say “She walk to school,” it would be incorrect because “walk” is a plural verb that does not agree with the singular subject.
5. Some irregular verbs have unique forms: Lastly, some verbs have unique forms that do not follow the basic rules of subject verb agreement. For example, the verb “to be” is irregular and has a different form for each subject and tense. “I am,” “he is,” “she was,” and “they were” are all correct because they follow the unique form of the verb “to be.”
By following these basic rules of subject verb agreement, you can create clear, concise, and effective writing that is accessible to a wide range of readers. Remember to always pay attention to the number and form of your subjects and verbs, and to use consistent language throughout your content. With practice and attention to detail, you can perfect your subject verb agreement and become a master of clear and effective writing.