Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammatical rule in the English language that ensures clarity and coherence in communication. It states that the verb in a sentence must agree with its subject in number and person. However, there are many instances where this rule is not followed, leading to confusion and ambiguity in the sentence`s meaning. In this article, we will discuss some non-examples of subject-verb agreement that you should avoid in your writing.
1. Singular subject with a plural verb
This is one of the most common mistakes that writers make. When a sentence has a singular subject, the verb that follows must also be singular. The same rule applies to plural subjects and verbs. For example:
Incorrect: The cat and dog plays in the yard.
Correct: The cat and dog play in the yard.
In the above example, the subject is “cat and dog,” which is a plural noun, and therefore, the verb should be “play” instead of “plays.”
2. Plural subject with a singular verb
This is another common mistake that writers make. When a sentence has a plural subject, the verb that follows must also be plural. The same rule applies to singular subjects and verbs. For example:
Incorrect: The apples on the tree is ripe.
Correct: The apples on the tree are ripe.
In the above example, the subject is “apples,” which is a plural noun, and therefore, the verb should be “are” instead of “is.”
3. Agreement with collective nouns
Collective nouns are nouns that refer to a group of individuals. These nouns are singular in form but refer to multiple people or things. When using collective nouns in a sentence, it`s essential to consider the context and agreement with the verb. For example:
Incorrect: The team is in disagreement with each other.
Correct: The team is in disagreement with one another.
In the above example, the noun “team” is a collective noun, but the verb should agree with the individual members of the team, and therefore, the correct pronoun is “one another” instead of “each other.”
4. Agreement with indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that refer to people or things in general and not to a specific person or thing. When using indefinite pronouns in a sentence, it`s essential to consider the context and agreement with the verb. For example:
Incorrect: Everyone were happy with their gifts.
Correct: Everyone was happy with their gift.
In the above example, the pronoun “everyone” is an indefinite pronoun, and the verb should be singular to agree with the singular pronoun.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a crucial grammatical rule that you must follow in your writing to ensure clarity and coherence in communication. Avoid the non-examples mentioned above to improve your writing and avoid common errors. Remember to read your writing aloud or have someone else read it to you to ensure it makes sense and follows the rules of subject-verb agreement.