After delving into the basics of subject-verb agreement in our last article, today, we`ll explore some of the more complex areas and common errors that writers frequently encounter.
One of the most common mistakes is with compound subjects. Compound subjects are created when two or more subjects are joined by a conjunction like “and” or “or.” In this case, the verb must agree with the plurality of the compound subject. For instance, “John and Jane are coming to the party” is correct because “John and Jane” is a plural subject. On the other hand, “John or Jane is coming to the party” is also accurate because “John or Jane” is singular.
Another problematic area is with the collective noun. Collective nouns refer to a group of individuals, but they are singular in nature. Examples include “team,” “jury,” “committee,” and “family.” In these cases, the verb must agree with the singular form of the collective noun. For instance, “The team is practicing for their upcoming game” is incorrect because “team” is singular. Instead, it should be “The team is practicing for its upcoming game.”
A lesser-known issue in subject-verb agreement is with the use of the word “number.” When using “number” to denote the amount of something, it is crucial to know whether it is singular or plural to make the verb agree correctly. For example, “The number of students in the classroom is increasing” is correct because “number” is singular. On the other hand, “A large number of students were absent today” is also suitable because “number” is plural.
Lastly, an essential point to note is the concept of using certain phrases, such as “along with,” “as well as,” and “in addition to,” that come between the subject and verb. In such a case, the verb must agree with the subject, not the phrase in between. For example, “The teacher, along with her students, is leaving early” is correct because “teacher” is the subject. On the other hand, “The teacher`s students, along with her, are leaving early” is accurate because “students” is the new subject.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is vital in any form of writing, whether it`s for academic or SEO purposes. Understanding the complex areas we`ve explored here today will help you avoid mistakes and create a more polished and professional piece of content.