Exercise Subject-Verb Agreement: Tips for Effective Writing
As a writer, it is crucial to understand the rules of grammar to ensure that your message is effectively conveyed to your audience. One essential aspect of grammar is subject-verb agreement, which can make or break the clarity of your writing. Keep in mind that this is especially vital when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) because Google’s algorithm favors well-written content.
Subject-verb agreement means that the subject and verb in a sentence must match in number. For instance, when the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and when the subject is plural, the verb should be plural as well. Below are some tips to help you get your subject-verb agreement right in your writing.
1. Identify the subject
Firstly, you need to identify the subject(s) of your sentence. Once you know the subject, you can identify whether it`s singular or plural and choose your verb accordingly.
Example: The dog barks loudly at the mailman. (subject: dog, verb: barks)
2. Consider collective nouns
Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things. Examples include “team,” “class,” and “family.” When using collective nouns, you need to decide whether you are referring to the group as a whole or its individual members.
Example: The team is training for the championship. (refers to the team as a single entity)
The team are discussing their strategy. (refers to the individual team members)
3. Be careful with compound subjects
When a sentence has two or more subjects joined by “and,” the verb should also be plural.
Example: John and Sarah are working on the project together.
4. Take note of indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns are words like “anyone,” “everyone,” “someone,” or “no one.” The verb used with these pronouns should be singular.
Example: Someone left their phone on the table. (incorrect)
Someone left his or her phone on the table. (correct)
5. Check for subject-verb agreement with prepositional phrases
Prepositional phrases are phrases that begin with a preposition, such as “with,” “in,” or “among.” The verb should agree with the subject of the sentence, not the object of the preposition.
Example: The book on the table is my favorite. (subject: book, verb: is)
The books on the table are my favorite. (subject: books, verb: are)
Subject-verb agreement can be tricky at times, but it is crucial to check for it when editing your work. Keep in mind that correct subject-verb agreement helps to enhance the readability of your content and can improve your SEO ranking. By following the above tips, you can improve the quality of your writing, making it more effective for your target audience.