Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of grammar that determines the correctness of a sentence. It involves making sure that the subject and verb in a sentence are appropriately matched in number. The traditional rule is that a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, there are other rules to consider when dealing with subject-verb agreement. In this article, we will discuss these other rules and how to apply them.
1. Indefinite pronouns
Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that are not precise or definite. Some examples of indefinite pronouns include anyone, everybody, someone, nobody, and each. The rule for indefinite pronouns is that if the pronoun is singular, then the verb should be singular. Conversely, if the pronoun is plural, the verb should be plural. For instance, «Everyone loves pizza» is correct, while «Everyone love pizza» is incorrect.
2. Collective nouns
Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things. Examples include team, family, herd, and group. In subject-verb agreement, the rule for collective nouns is that if the group is considered as a whole, then the verb should be singular. If the group is treated as individuals, then the verb should be plural. For instance, «The team is playing well» is correct, while «The team are playing well» is incorrect.
3. Compound subjects
Compound subjects refer to two or more singular subjects that are connected by conjunctions such as «and,» «or,» and «nor.» In subject-verb agreement, the rule for compound subjects is that if the subjects are connected by «and,» then the verb should be plural. If the subjects are connected by «or» or «nor,» then the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For instance, «John and Jane are going to the party» is correct, while «John or Jane is going to the party» is also correct.
4. Titles and words as subjects
When using a title or a word as the subject of a sentence, the rule in subject-verb agreement is that the verb should agree with the subject`s meaning rather than its form. For instance, «The band is playing tonight» is correct instead of «The band are playing tonight.» Another example is, «The news is good today» and not «The news are good today.»
Subject-verb agreement is a vital aspect of writing correct English sentences. While the traditional rule is that a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb, there are other rules to consider as well. These rules include indefinite pronouns, collective nouns, compound subjects, and titles or words as subjects. Applying these rules will result in well-structured and grammatically correct sentences.