Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of grammar that every writer must understand. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb of a sentence, where the verb must agree with the subject in terms of number and person. In other words, the verb must match the number and person of the subject. For instance, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. This ensures that the sentence makes sense and is grammatically correct.
If you`re struggling with subject-verb agreement, don`t worry. This article will teach you everything you need to know.
Understanding the Basics
The subject is usually a noun or a pronoun that performs the action of the sentence, while the verb is a word that shows the action being performed. For example, in the sentence, “He walks to school,” he is the subject, and walks is the verb. The number and person of the subject can be singular or plural. For example, “He walks” is singular, while “They walk” is plural.
Rule 1: Use Singular Verb with Singular Subject
When the subject is singular, the verb must be singular. For example, “The dog barks” is correct because the dog is a singular subject, and barks is a singular verb. On the other hand, “The dog bark” is incorrect because bark is a plural verb.
Rule 2: Use Plural Verb with Plural Subject
When the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. For example, “The dogs bark” is correct because dogs is a plural subject, and bark is a plural verb. On the other hand, “The dogs barks” is incorrect because barks is a singular verb.
Rule 3: Make Verbs Agree with Compound Subjects
When the subject is a compound subject, which means it consists of two or more nouns or pronouns joined by and, the verb must be plural. For example, “Tom and Jerry jump over the fence” is correct because Tom and Jerry is a compound subject, and jump is a plural verb. On the other hand, “Tom and Jerry jumps over the fence” is incorrect because jumps is a singular verb.
Rule 4: Use a Singular Verb with Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that refer to an unspecified person or thing, such as anyone, someone, everyone, etc. When an indefinite pronoun is the subject of the sentence, the verb must be singular. For example, “Everyone wants to be happy” is correct because everyone is an indefinite pronoun, and wants is a singular verb.
Rule 5: Use a Plural Verb with Collective Nouns
Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things as a single entity, such as team, family, class, etc. When a collective noun is the subject of the sentence, the verb can be either singular or plural, depending on the intended meaning. For example, “The team is practicing” is correct because the team is considered a single entity, and is practicing is a singular verb. However, “The team are arguing” is also correct because the team is made up of multiple people, and are arguing is a plural verb.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar that ensures your sentences are grammatically correct, clear, and easy to understand. By following the rules outlined in this article, you`ll be able to master subject-verb agreement and impress your readers with your writing skills.