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November 20, 2022

Meaning of Subject Verb Agreement and Examples

Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of the English language. It refers to the fact that the subject and the verb in a sentence must agree in number – that is, whether they are singular or plural. This agreement ensures that the sentence is grammatically correct and easy to understand. When the subject and the verb do not agree in number, the sentence becomes unclear, awkward, and can even be confusing for the reader. In this article, we will discuss the meaning of subject-verb agreement with some examples.

The Subject and the Verb

Before we dive into the subject-verb agreement, it is crucial to understand the subject and the verb. The subject is the person, thing, or idea that the sentence is all about, and the verb is the action or state of being performed by the subject.

For example, in the sentence “The cat jumps on the table,” the subject is “the cat,” and the verb is “jumps.”

Singular Subjects and Verbs

When the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular. Here are some examples:

– My dog barks at the mailman. (The subject “dog” is singular, and the verb “barks” is singular.)

– The teacher teaches the lesson. (The subject “teacher” is singular, and the verb “teaches” is singular.)

– The tree stands tall in the forest. (The subject “tree” is singular, and the verb “stands” is singular.)

Plural Subjects and Verbs

When the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural. Here are some examples:

– The dogs bark at the mailman. (The subject “dogs” is plural, and the verb “bark” is plural.)

– The students study for their exams. (The subject “students” is plural, and the verb “study” is plural.)

– The trees sway in the wind. (The subject “trees” is plural, and the verb “sway” is plural.)

Compound Subjects and Verbs

When the sentence has two or more subjects, the verb must be plural. It does not matter if the subjects are joined by “and” or “or.” Here are some examples:

– John and Mary like to dance. (The two subjects, John and Mary, are joined by “and,” and the verb “like” is plural.)

– The dog or the cat eats the food. (The two subjects, dog and cat, are joined by “or,” and the verb “eats” is singular.)

– The book, pen, and paper are on the table. (The three subjects, book, pen, and paper, are joined by “and,” and the verb “are” is plural.)

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to a particular person or thing. When the indefinite pronouns are singular, the verb must be singular. When they are plural, the verb must be plural. Here are some examples:

– Someone is at the door. (The indefinite pronoun “someone” is singular, and the verb “is” is singular.)

– Everyone loves ice cream. (The indefinite pronoun “everyone” is singular, and the verb “loves” is singular.)

– Both of the dogs bark. (The indefinite pronoun “both” is plural, and the verb “bark” is plural.)

– Many of the students are absent. (The indefinite pronoun “many” is plural, and the verb “are” is plural.)

Conclusion

Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of the English language that ensures that the sentence is grammatically correct and easy to understand. When the subject and the verb do not agree in number, the sentence becomes unclear and confusing. As a copy editor, it is essential to keep these rules in mind while editing any text to ensure that it communicates the message effectively.

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