As a copy editor, subject-verb agreement is one of the most important grammar rules that needs to be followed precisely to ensure that the message of the writer is conveyed correctly and clearly to the readers. Subject-verb agreement refers to the correct matching of the subject and verb in a sentence based on their number, which can be singular or plural.
There are many subject-verb agreement rules that a writer and editor need to know and apply in their writing to ensure grammatical accuracy. In total, there are twelve rules of subject-verb agreement that must be followed. Here are the rules:
1. The verb agrees with the subject in number, i.e., singular or plural.
2. Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.
3. Indefinite pronouns like anyone, everyone, someone, etc., take a singular verb form.
4. Collective nouns such as team, jury, committee, etc., are singular in form and take a singular verb.
5. Singular nouns ending in s, x, ch, sh, or s and o take a singular verb.
6. When two singular subjects are connected by and, the verb is plural.
7. When two subjects are connected by either/or or neither/nor, make the verb agree with the subject closer to the verb.
8. When the subject and verb are separated by a prepositional phrase, the verb agrees with the subject.
9. When the subject is a combination of singular and plural words connected by or or nor, the verb agrees with the subject closest to the verb.
10. The verb is singular when the subjects are joined by each or every.
11. When the subject is a compound noun, use the singular form of the verb.
12. When the subject is a question or starts with a word like here or there, the verb will agree with the subject following the verb.
These twelve rules of subject-verb agreement may seem overwhelming, but they are important to keep in mind when you are writing and editing your work. Inconsistencies in subject-verb agreement can make your writing unclear and confusing for the reader, thereby defeating the purpose of communication.
In conclusion, as a professional, I know that subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that must be followed to ensure clear and effective communication. Understanding and applying these rules accurately will ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and communicates your message clearly and effectively to your readers.