Three Subject-Verb Disagreements

Three Subject-Verb Disagreements

Subject-verb disagreement is a common grammatical error that can easily slip past even the most experienced writers. It occurs when the subject of a sentence and its accompanying verb do not agree in number. In other words, if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural, and if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. In this article, we will explore three common subject-verb disagreements and how to avoid them.

1. Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things and are often treated as singular nouns. Examples of collective nouns include team, family, jury, committee, and audience. In these cases, it is crucial to remember that the subject-verb agreement should be based on the context of the sentence. For instance, a sentence like „The jury delivers their verdict“ is incorrect as the noun „jury“ is singular, and, therefore, the verb should be singular. The correct sentence should read, „The jury delivers its verdict.“

2. Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to people or things in a general way and do not specify a particular person or object. Examples of indefinite pronouns include „everyone,“ „someone,“ „anyone,“ and „nobody.“ These pronouns are always singular and require a singular verb. For example, „Everyone in the room was clapping their hands“ is incorrect as the subject „everyone“ requires a singular verb. The correct sentence should read, „Everyone in the room was clapping his or her hands.“

3. Compound Subjects

A compound subject refers to two or more subjects joined by a coordinating conjunction such as „and“ or „or.“ In these cases, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For example, „The cat and the dog loves to play“ is incorrect as „cat“ and „dog“ are two separate subjects and require a plural verb. The correct sentence should read, „The cat and the dog love to play.“

In conclusion, subject-verb disagreement is a common error that can be easily avoided by paying attention to the number of the subject and ensuring that the verb agrees with it. By understanding the rules that govern subject-verb agreement, you can improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing and avoid common errors that might otherwise distract your readers.

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