Common Grammar Mistakes Subject Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is one of the fundamental aspects of grammar that writers need to master. It is essential to ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number, person, and tense. However, many writers often make common grammar mistakes when it comes to subject-verb agreement, which can compromise the clarity and effectiveness of their writing. In this article, we will discuss some of the common grammar mistakes related to subject-verb agreement and how to avoid them.

1. Subject-Verb Disagreement with Compound Subjects

When two or more subjects are joined by a conjunction such as `and` or `or`, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For example, “John and Mary are going to the party” and “Either John or Mary is going to the party.” In the first sentence, the verb `are` agrees with both John and Mary, who are the compound subjects. In the second sentence, the verb `is` agrees with Mary, who is the closest subject to the verb.

2. Using Singular Verbs with Collective Nouns

Collective nouns, such as `team,` `committee,` or `group,` are singular in form but refer to a collection of individuals. However, they often take a plural verb when the members of the group are acting individually. For example, “The committee is meeting tomorrow” and “The team are in the locker room, getting ready for the game.” In the first sentence, the committee acts as a single unit, so the singular verb `is` is used. In the second sentence, the team members act individually, so the plural verb `are` is used.

3. Using Singular Verbs with Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns, such as `everyone,` `somebody,` or `anyone,` are singular in form and require a singular verb. For example, “Everyone is going to the party,” and “Someone called while you were out.” In both examples, the singular verb `is` agrees with the singular pronoun `everyone` and `someone`, respectively.

4. Confusing Collective and Singular Nouns

Some nouns, such as `news,` `mathematics,` or `physics,` are singular in form but refer to collections of things or subjects. In such cases, the verb should agree with the singular subject, not the plural meaning of the noun. For example, “The news is good today,” and “Physics is my favorite subject.” In both examples, the singular verb `is` agrees with the singular form of the nouns, not the plural meaning.

5. Using Plural Verbs with Non-count Nouns

Non-count nouns, such as `water,` `advice,` or `furniture,` cannot be pluralized and should take a singular verb. For example, “The water is cold,” and “The furniture looks new.” In both examples, the singular verb `is` agrees with the singular form of the non-count nouns.

Conclusion

Subject-verb agreement is vital to ensure that your writing is clear, effective, and grammatically correct. By avoiding these common grammar mistakes and ensuring that the subject and verb in your sentences agree in number, person, and tense, you can enhance the readability and impact of your writing. Remember to proofread your work carefully to eliminate any errors before submitting it for publication.

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