Subject-verb agreement is an essential element of good writing. It refers to the agreement between the subject of the sentence and the verb of the sentence, ensuring that both are in alignment. This agreement is necessary because it helps the reader understand the message the writer is trying to convey.

Subject-verb agreement seems simple, yet many writers struggle with it. In this article, we will be discussing the various aspects of subject-verb agreement and how to apply them in your writing.

Singular subjects take singular verbs, while plural subjects take plural verbs. For instance, “The cat is sleeping” is correct, whereas “The cat are sleeping” is incorrect.

In sentences with compound subjects, the verbs must align with the plurality of the subject. If the compound subject is joined by “and,” then the verb should be plural. For example, “John and Lucy are going to the party” is correct.

In sentences with compound subjects joined by “or” or “nor,” the verb should agree with the closest subject. For instance, “Neither Lucy nor John likes pizza” is correct since “John,” the closest subject, is singular.

Collective nouns, such as “team” or “family,” refer to groups of individuals. If the collective noun is acting as a single unit, the verb can be singular. For example, “The team is playing well.” However, if the collective noun is acting as individuals, the verb should be plural. For instance, “The team members are all wearing new jerseys.”

In sentences with indefinite pronouns, such as “anyone,” “everyone,” and “someone,” the verb should be singular. For example, “Everyone knows the answer to the question.”

In irregular verb forms such as “have” and “be”, subject verb agreement can become complex. For example, “The group has finished their work” is incorrect. Instead, it should be “The group has finished its work.” Similarly, “The team is winning their game” is incorrect, with the correction being, “The team is winning its game.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is essential in good writing. Using the examples and guidelines given in this article, writers can ensure their subjects and verbs are in alignment, making for clear and concise writing. By following these simple rules, you can elevate your writing to the next level and communicate your message effectively.