Basic Rules in Subject and Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammatical rule that every writer should follow. Correct subject-verb agreement ensures that your writing is easy to read and understand, which is important for effective communication. Here are some basic rules for subject-verb agreement that every writer should know.

1. The subject and the verb must agree in number.

The number of the subject and the verb must match. If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. For example:

– The cat (singular subject) is sleeping.

– The cats (plural subject) are sleeping.

2. A singular subject takes a singular verb, even if it is connected by “and” to another subject.

When two or more subjects are connected by “and,” the verb should be plural, as long as all the subjects are plural. However, if one of the subjects is singular, the verb should be singular. For example:

– John and Jane are eating breakfast. (plural subjects)

– The cat and the dog is sleeping. (singular subject)

3. Indefinite pronouns take singular or plural verbs depending on the context.

Some indefinite pronouns, such as someone, everybody, and each, take a singular verb. Others, such as some, many, and few, take a plural verb. For example:

– Someone is at the door. (singular verb)

– Some of the students are absent. (plural verb)

4. Collective nouns can take singular or plural verbs depending on the context.

Collective nouns, such as team, group, and family, can take either a singular or plural verb, depending on whether the group is acting as a single unit or as individuals. For example:

– The team is practicing. (singular verb, acting as a single unit)

– The team are arguing among themselves. (plural verb, acting as individuals)

5. The verb must agree with the subject, not with the complement.

When the subject is a noun or a pronoun followed by a complement, the verb must agree with the subject, not the complement. For example:

– My favorite color is blue. (singular subject, singular verb)

– The winner of the race was John. (singular subject, singular verb)

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of effective writing. By following these basic rules, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to read. Remember that subject-verb agreement applies to all forms of writing, including blog posts, articles, and marketing copy.