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What Is a Subject-Verb Agreement Error

Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of English grammar, and it is essential for effective communication. A subject-verb agreement error occurs when the subject and verb of a sentence do not match in number: either the subject is singular and the verb is plural, or the subject is plural, and the verb is singular. This error is not only grammatically incorrect but also affects the clarity of the sentence and can make it difficult to understand. In this article, we will discuss the importance of subject-verb agreement and how to avoid subject-verb agreement errors.

Importance of Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is crucial in English because it ensures that the sentence is grammatically correct and easy to understand. When the subject and verb do not agree in number, it makes the sentence ambiguous and confusing. For example, consider the following sentence:

The group of students are preparing for their exams.

In this sentence, the subject is “group,” which is a singular noun, but the verb is “are,” which is a plural verb. This creates confusion and makes it unclear whether the speaker is referring to the group as a whole or individual students within the group. To make the sentence clear, the verb should agree with the singular subject:

The group of students is preparing for their exams.

Now it is clear that the speaker is referring to the group as a whole.

Avoiding Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

To avoid subject-verb agreement errors, it is important to understand the basic rules of agreement. Here are some tips to help you avoid these errors:

1. Identify the subject and verb in the sentence.

The subject is the noun or pronoun that the sentence is about, and the verb is the action or state of being. It is important to identify both to ensure that they agree in number.

2. Make sure the verb agrees with the subject in number.

If the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb should be plural.

3. Pay attention to the intervening words.

Sometimes, there are words between the subject and verb that can make it easy to forget about the subject`s number. For example:

The books on the shelf need to be organized.

In this sentence, the subject is “books,” which is plural, but the intervening prepositional phrase “on the shelf” can make it easy to forget this. It is important to remember the subject`s number and ensure that the verb agrees accordingly.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental aspect of English grammar, and it is essential for effective communication. A subject-verb agreement error occurs when the subject and verb of a sentence do not match in number, and this can lead to confusion and ambiguity. To avoid subject-verb agreement errors, it is important to identify the subject and verb in the sentence, make sure the verb agrees with the subject in number, and pay attention to the intervening words. By following these tips, you can ensure that your sentences are grammatically correct and easy to understand.