Resolve Subject Verb Disagreement

As a copy editor, it is important to ensure that the grammatical structure of a sentence is correct. One of the most common issues that arise is subject-verb disagreement. This can happen when the subject and verb of a sentence do not agree in number. In simple terms, if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.

Subject-verb disagreement can cause confusion and misinterpretation of the sentence. However, this issue can be easily resolved by following a few simple rules.

1. Identify the subject and verb

The first step in resolving subject-verb disagreement is to clearly identify the subject and the verb in the sentence. The subject is the noun or pronoun that the sentence is referring to, and the verb is the action word that describes what the subject is doing.

2. Ensure that the subject and verb agree in number

Once you have identified the subject and verb, ensure that they agree in number. If the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural.

For example:

– Incorrect: The group of students is excited for the trip.

– Correct: The group of students are excited for the trip.

In the first sentence, the subject is “group,” which is singular, but the verb “is” is plural. In the corrected sentence, the verb “are” agrees with the plural subject “students.”

3. Be aware of tricky subjects

Sometimes, there are subjects that can be tricky to identify as singular or plural. For example, “everyone,” “someone,” and “no one” are all singular, even though they may be referring to multiple people.

For example:

– Incorrect: Everyone were excited for the party.

– Correct: Everyone was excited for the party.

In the first sentence, the plural verb “were” does not agree with the singular subject “everyone.” In the corrected sentence, the singular verb “was” agrees with the singular subject “everyone.”

4. Match the verb with the subject, not the object

Another common mistake is to match the verb with the object of the sentence, rather than the subject. Remember that the verb should always agree with the subject.

For example:

– Incorrect: The books on the shelf needs to be organized.

– Correct: The books on the shelf need to be organized.

In the first sentence, the singular verb “needs” does not agree with the plural subject “books.” In the corrected sentence, the plural verb “need” agrees with the plural subject “books.”

Final thoughts

Subject-verb disagreement is a common grammatical mistake that can be easily resolved by following a few simple rules. Always make sure to identify the subject and verb, ensure that they agree in number, be aware of tricky subjects, and match the verb with the subject, not the object. By doing this, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and grammatically correct.