Subject-verb agreement is an essential grammatical rule in English. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb of a sentence. The subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action of the verb, while the verb is the action the subject performs. The rule of subject-verb agreement states that the subject and the verb should agree in number. In other words, a singular subject should have a singular verb, and a plural subject should have a plural verb.
Here are some examples of subject-verb agreement:
Singular subject with singular verb:
– The cat meows every morning.
– The teacher teaches math to the students.
Plural subject with plural verb:
– The cats meow every morning.
– The teachers teach math to the students.
However, there are some instances when subject-verb agreement can be confusing. Here are some rules to follow to ensure correct subject-verb agreement:
1. Indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns such as everyone, nobody, someone, and anybody are singular subjects. Therefore, they should be paired with a singular verb.
– Everyone is enjoying the party.
2. Collective nouns
Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things, and they can be singular or plural depending on the context. If the group is acting as a single entity, it should be paired with a singular verb. If the group is acting individually, it should be paired with a plural verb.
– The team is playing well. (The team acts as a single unit)
– The team are arguing with each other. (The team acts as individuals)
3. Compound subjects
Compound subjects are two or more subjects joined by a coordinating conjunction such as and, or, or nor. If the compound subject is joined by and, it should be paired with a plural verb. If the compound subject is joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.
– Sarah and Tom are going to the beach.
– Neither the cat nor the dog likes vegetables.
4. Inverted sentences
Inverted sentences are sentences in which the subject comes after the verb. In these cases, the subject and verb should still agree in number.
– Here comes the bus. (singular subject, singular verb)
– There are several books on the shelf. (plural subject, plural verb)
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an important grammatical rule that ensures clarity and coherence in writing. Remember to check that the subject and verb are in agreement, especially with indefinite pronouns, collective nouns, compound subjects, and inverted sentences. With these rules in mind, you can write error-free sentences that effectively communicate your ideas.