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Most Commonly Used Subject Verb Agreement

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  • 04/29/2023

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial grammatical concept in writing, where a subject and verb must agree in number and tense to create a grammatically correct sentence. Proper subject-verb agreement ensures that your writing is clear and easy to understand, making it an essential aspect of any writing style.

There are several commonly used subject-verb agreement rules that writers should be aware of to ensure that their writing is grammatically correct. Here are some of the most commonly used subject-verb agreement rules to help strengthen your writing:

1. Singular subjects require singular verbs, while plural subjects require plural verbs.

For example:

– The cat runs across the room.

– The cats run across the room.

The first sentence features a singular subject, ‘cat,’ paired with the singular verb ‘runs,’ while the second sentence features the plural subject, ‘cats,’ paired with the plural verb ‘run.’ It’s essential to remember this rule to eliminate any subject-verb agreement errors in your writing.

2. When a sentence includes two or more subjects joined by ‘and,’ you should use a plural verb.

For instance:

– John and Mary are going to the movies.

In this example, ‘John and Mary’ is a plural subject, so the verb ‘are’ must also be plural to match, indicating that both of them are going to the movies. Using the singular verb ‘is’ would be incorrect.

3. When a sentence includes two subjects joined by ‘or,’ you need to ensure that the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.

For example:

– Either the dog or the cats are responsible for the mess.

In this example, the subject closest to the verb is ‘cats,’ which is plural, so the verb ‘are’ is also plural, making the sentence grammatically correct.

4. When a sentence includes collective nouns, you should use a singular verb.

For instance:

– The team is playing really well.

The word ‘team’ is a collective noun that refers to a group of individuals, so it is treated as a singular noun, requiring a singular verb (‘is’) to match.

5. When a sentence includes indefinite pronouns, you must pay close attention to the context to ensure proper subject-verb agreement.

For example:

– Somebody has left their phone on the table.

In this sentence, the subject is ‘somebody,’ which is singular, but the pronoun ‘their’ is plural. To ensure proper agreement, you can simply change the pronoun to ‘his or her phone,’ or use ‘their’ in a plural context, such as ‘Somebody has left their phones on the table.’

Final Words

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of writing that cannot be ignored. If you do not follow the rules of subject-verb agreement, your writing may be unclear, making it difficult for readers to understand your message. Use these tips to ensure your writing is grammatically correct and easy to read.


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