As a copy editor, one of the essential rules I believe every writer should know is the agreement of noun with verb. This rule is vital in ensuring that sentences are coherent, grammatically correct, and easy to read. In this article, I will explain what noun and verb agreement is, why it matters, and provide tips on how to achieve it in your writing.
What is the agreement of noun with verb?
In the English language, the agreement of noun and verb is the act of ensuring that the verb in a sentence agrees with the subject/noun in terms of number and person. For instance, when the subject is singular, the verb must be singular too, and when the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.
– The cat jumps over the fence. (singular subject, singular verb)
– The cats jump over the fence. (plural subject, plural verb)
Why does it matter?
The agreement of noun and verb is vital in writing because it helps to ensure clarity. When the verb agrees with its subject, readers can easily understand the message the writer is trying to convey. However, when there is a lack of agreement between nouns and verbs, sentences can become confusing, leading to misinterpretation of the intended meaning.
Additionally, poor noun and verb agreement can make writing look unprofessional and careless. As a copy editor, I have seen many manuscripts and articles rejected due to errors in noun and verb agreement, which is why it is critical to master this rule of grammar.
Tips for Achieving Noun and Verb Agreement
Here are some tips to help you achieve noun and verb agreement in your writing:
1. Identify the subject
Before you start writing, identify the main subject of your sentence. It will help you determine whether the verb should be singular or plural.
2. Pay attention to the number of the subject
If the subject is singular, the verb should be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural.
3. Watch out for collective nouns
When using collective nouns like group, jury, team, etc., the verb choice depends on whether the group acts as a single entity or as separate individuals. If the group acts as a single unit, the verb should be singular; if the group acts as individuals, the verb should be plural.
– The team plays well. (singular verb, acts as one unit)
– The team members play well. (plural verb, acts as individuals)
4. Be careful with indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns like everyone, somebody, nobody, etc., are always singular, and the verb should also be singular.
– Someone left their jacket on the chair. (incorrect)
– Someone left his jacket on the chair. (correct)
In summary, the agreement of noun and verb is an essential rule of grammar that every writer should master. By ensuring that the verb agrees with its subject in terms of number and person, you improve the clarity and professionalism of your writing. Always identify the subject of your sentence, pay attention to the number of the subject, watch out for collective nouns, and be careful with indefinite pronouns. By following these tips, you can achieve perfect noun and verb agreement in your writing.