Subject-verb agreement is an essential component of writing correctly and effectively. Simply put, subject-verb agreement refers to the rule that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree with each other in terms of number. If the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
Here are the top 10 rules to remember when it comes to subject-verb agreement.
1. Singular subjects require singular verbs.
Example: The dog barks at every car that passes by.
2. Plural subjects require plural verbs.
Example: The dogs bark at every car that passes by.
3. In sentences with compound subjects joined by “and,” use a plural verb.
Example: Mary and John are going to the park.
4. In sentences with compound subjects joined by “or” or “nor,” use a verb that agrees with the closest subject.
Example: Neither the teacher nor the students know the answer.
5. In sentences with collective nouns (a group, team, class, etc.), use a singular verb when referring to the group as a whole and a plural verb when referring to the individual members.
Example: The class is learning about subject-verb agreement. The students are taking notes.
6. Use a singular verb with “each,” “every,” “either,” and “neither.”
Example: Each of the students is responsible for their own work.
7. Use a plural verb with “many,” “several,” and “few.”
Example: Several of the students have already finished their work.
8. When a sentence begins with “there” or “here,” the verb agrees with the subject that follows.
Example: There are many books on the shelf.
9. When “one” or “it” is used as a subject, use a singular verb.
Example: It is important to always proofread your work.
10. When there is an indefinite pronoun (anyone, someone, everyone, nobody, etc.) as the subject, use a singular verb.
Example: Everyone needs to read the instructions carefully before starting.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement may seem like a small detail, but it can make a significant difference in the clarity and professionalism of your writing. By following these 10 simple rules, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and effective.