What Is Subject-Verb Agreement Rules and Examples

Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of grammar that ensures clarity and precision in writing. It refers to the correct concordance between the subject and verb in a sentence. In simple terms, the subject and verb must agree in number, i.e., singular subject with singular verb and plural subject with plural verb. In this article, we`ll look at some examples of subject-verb agreement rules.

Basic Rules

1. Singular subject and verb: A singular subject requires a singular verb. For example, “The cat jumps on the table.”

2. Plural subject and verb: A plural subject requires a plural verb. For example, “The cats jump on the table.”

3. Compound subject and verb: If the subject is a compound, i.e., two or more nouns or pronouns joined by “and,” it requires a plural verb. For example, “The cat and the dog are playing in the yard.”

4. Indefinite pronouns: Indefinite pronouns, such as everyone, anybody, someone, nobody, etc., always take a singular verb. For example, “Everyone is happy.”

5. Collective nouns: Collective nouns, such as team, group, class, etc., can take a singular or plural verb, depending on the context. If the group acts as a single unit, it takes a singular verb. For example, “The team is playing well.” If the individuals in the group act independently, it takes a plural verb. For example, “The class are discussing their projects.”

6. Verbs separated from the subject: When a sentence begins with an adverb or a prepositional phrase, the verb must agree with the subject that follows it. For example, “In the garden, the flowers bloom beautifully.”

Common Errors

1. Incorrect use of “there” and “here”: The words “there” and “here” are not the actual subject of the sentence and do not determine the verb`s number. For example, “There are many books in the library” instead of “There is many books in the library.”

2. Incorrect agreement with collective nouns: Collective nouns can be tricky because they can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on the context. For example, “The team are playing well” instead of “The team is playing well.”

3. Agreement with compound subjects: Ensure that the verb agrees with the second or closer noun in a sentence that has a compound subject. For example, “My brother and I are going to the party.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of proper sentence structure and clarity. A few simple rules and a careful eye can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and effectively communicates your message. Remember to always proofread your work for subject-verb agreement errors.

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