Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that every writer, including authors, should be well-versed in. In essence, subject-verb agreement simply means that the verb in a sentence should agree with the subject in terms of number, whether it`s singular or plural. A lack of proper subject-verb agreement can make your writing confusing, and it can also significantly impact the readability of your content.
As an author, having a firm grasp of subject-verb agreement is crucial, not only because it makes your writing clearer, but also because it affects your ability to communicate your message effectively. In this article, we`ll explore some tips that authors can use to improve their subject-verb agreement skills.
Tip #1: Identify the subject of the sentence
The first step in achieving proper subject-verb agreement is to identify the subject of the sentence. The subject is the noun or pronoun that is performing the action of the sentence. For instance, in the sentence “The dog barks at the mailman,” “dog” is the subject, and “barks” is the verb. However, it`s not always easy to identify the subject as some authors may include long introductory phrases or clauses before the subject, which may cause confusion. A trick to make this easier is to ask yourself the question, “Who or what is performing the action?”
Tip #2: Determine the number of the subject
Once you`ve accurately identified the subject of your sentence, the next step is to determine whether it`s singular or plural. In English, most singular subjects take a singular verb, while most plural subjects take plural verbs. For example, “The cat is sleeping on the sofa,” uses “is” as the singular verb, while “The cats are sleeping on the sofa,” uses “are” as the plural verb.
Tip #3: Be cautious of exceptions
As with any rule, there are exceptions to the subject-verb agreement rule. For instance, in sentences that use “there is” or “there are,” the verb that follows should agree with the true subject, not the word “there.” For example, the correct subject-verb agreement in the sentence “There is a cat and two dogs playing in the yard” should be “are” since there are two dogs playing, not just one “there.”
Tip #4: Check for subject-verb disagreement
As an author, it`s essential to proofread your work thoroughly to ensure that your subject-verb agreement is accurate. Always double-check your writing for subject-verb disagreement, which occurs when the subject and verb in a sentence do not agree in number.
In conclusion, understanding subject-verb agreement is crucial for every author who wants to produce clear and easily understood writing. By following the above tips, authors can ensure that their writing is grammatically correct and easily accessible to readers.