Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of grammar that is often overlooked. The basic rule in subject-verb agreement is that the subject and verb in a sentence should agree in number. When a singular subject is used, the verb must also be singular, and when a plural subject is used, the verb must also be plural.
Compiling a list of subject-verb agreement rules can be a helpful tool for writers, editors, and anyone who wants to improve their grammar skills. Here are some key rules to keep in mind:
1. Singular subjects take singular verbs.
Example: The dog barks at the mailman.
2. Plural subjects take plural verbs.
Example: The dogs bark at the mailman.
3. Compound subjects joined by “and” take plural verbs.
Example: The dog and the cat chase each other.
4. Compound subjects joined by “or” or “nor” take a singular verb that agrees with the subject closest to the verb.
Example: Either the dog or the cat is going to the vet.
5. Indefinite pronouns that end in “-body,” “-one,” or “-thing” take singular verbs.
Example: Everybody loves pizza.
6. Collective nouns, which refer to a group of people or things, can take singular or plural verbs depending on the context.
Example: The team is playing well. The team are all in agreement.
7. Titles of books, movies, and other works take singular verbs.
Example: The Lord of the Rings is a great movie.
8. When a subject and its verb are separated by a long phrase, it can be easy to forget the subject. However, the verb must still agree with the subject.
Example: The book, along with its sequels, is a classic.
By keeping these rules in mind and compiling a list of subject-verb agreement rules, writers and editors can improve their writing and ensure that their sentences are grammatically correct. Remembering these rules can take some practice, but with time and effort, anyone can become proficient at subject-verb agreement.