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Subject-Verb Agreement Tricks

Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental principle of grammar that can significantly impact the clarity and correctness of your writing. It refers to the idea that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. For instance, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural. To help you avoid common errors and master this important rule, here are some subject-verb agreement tricks that every writer should know.

1. Identify the subject of the sentence

The first step in achieving proper subject-verb agreement is identifying the subject of the sentence. The subject is the person, place, thing, or idea that is performing the action in the sentence. To determine the subject, ask yourself who or what is doing the action.

2. Watch out for compound subjects

When a sentence has a compound subject, it can be easy to get confused about whether the verb should be singular or plural. A compound subject is when two or more subjects are connected by coordinating conjunctions such as “and” or “or.” In this case, the verb should be plural if the subjects are joined by “and” but singular if they are joined by “or.” For instance, “Mike and Sarah are going to the movies,” and “Either Mike or Sarah is going to the movies.”

3. Pay attention to indefinite pronouns

Indefinite pronouns like “everyone,” “anyone,” “nobody,” and “somebody” are often the cause of subject-verb agreement errors. These pronouns can be tricky because they can be either singular or plural, depending on the context of the sentence. When the pronoun refers to a singular person or thing, the verb must be singular, and when it refers to more than one person or thing, the verb must be plural. For example, “Everyone is going to the party,” and “Somebody left their wallet on the table.”

4. Consider the tense of the verb

When it comes to subject-verb agreement, the tense of the verb is also important. If the subject is in the present tense, the verb should also be in the present tense. Conversely, if the subject is in the past tense, the verb should also be in the past tense. For instance, “She runs every morning,” and “They finished their homework last night.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of grammar that every writer should master. By following the above tips, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and correct. So next time you are writing, take a moment to check your subject-verb agreement, and you`ll be on your way to becoming a better writer.