As a writer, it`s important to have a good understanding of subject-verb agreement, as this is one of the most basic and fundamental rules of grammar. Subject-verb agreement refers to the relationship between the subject of a sentence and the verb that follows it. In a sentence, the subject is the one performing the action, while the verb is the action being performed. By following the main rules of subject-verb agreement, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand. Here are the most important rules to remember:
1. A singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb.
The cat (singular subject) is sleeping.
The cats (plural subject) are sleeping.
2. When a subject is compound (i.e. two or more subjects joined by “and”), it takes a plural verb.
Mary and John (compound subject) are going to the party.
3. When a subject is compound, but the subjects are acting as a single unit, it takes a singular verb.
Peanut butter and jelly (compound subject acting as a single unit) is my favorite sandwich.
4. When “either/or” or “neither/nor” are used, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.
Neither the cat nor the dog is hungry.
5. When “none” is used, the verb should agree with the word it refers to. If “none” refers to a singular noun, use a singular verb. If it refers to a plural noun, use a plural verb.
None of the apples (plural noun) were eaten.
None of the apple (singular noun) was eaten.
6. When a collective noun refers to a group acting as a single unit, use a singular verb. When a collective noun refers to individuals acting separately, use a plural verb.
The team (collective noun acting as a single unit) is working on the project.
The team (collective noun referring to individuals) are arguing with each other.
By following these main rules of subject-verb agreement, you can improve the clarity and correctness of your writing. Remember to proofread your writing carefully to ensure that you have followed these rules accurately, and consider using a grammar checker tool to catch any errors you may have missed. With practice, subject-verb agreement can become second nature, allowing you to focus on expressing your ideas effectively.