Subject Agreement Error

Subject Agreement Error: What It Is and How to Avoid It

As a copy editor, one of the most common errors I encounter is subject agreement error. This type of error occurs when the subject of a sentence does not agree with its verb, leading to confusion and incorrect grammar.

Subject agreement error can occur in a number of ways. For example, if you have a singular subject, your verb must also be singular. Likewise, if you have a plural subject, your verb must be plural as well. Here are a few examples of subject agreement error:

– The cat on the mat is hungry. (correct)

– The cats on the mat is hungry. (incorrect)

– The team are celebrating their victory. (incorrect)

– The team is celebrating its victory. (correct)

As you can see, subject agreement error can occur when writers are not paying close attention to the relationship between the subject and verb in their sentence. While it may seem like a small error, it can have a big impact on the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.

To avoid subject agreement error, there are a few key strategies you can use:

1. Pay attention to the number of your subject. Is it singular or plural? Make sure your verb matches this number. For example, if your subject is “dogs,” your verb should be “are” rather than “is.”

2. Watch out for tricky subjects such as collective nouns and indefinite pronouns. Collective nouns are words that refer to groups, such as team, family, or staff. These nouns can be singular or plural depending on the context. Indefinite pronouns, such as anyone, everyone, and nobody, are always singular. Make sure your verb matches the number of your tricky subject.

3. Take the time to proofread your work carefully. Subject agreement error can be easy to miss if you`re not looking for it specifically. Read your sentences aloud to check for any errors, and consider having a colleague or friend look over your work for an extra set of eyes.

In addition to these strategies, it`s also helpful to familiarize yourself with common subject agreement rules. By understanding the basic rules of subject and verb agreement, you`ll be better equipped to recognize and correct errors in your writing.

Subject agreement error may seem like a minor issue, but it can have a big impact on your writing. By paying attention to your subject and verb agreement, and using some key strategies to avoid errors, you`ll be able to improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.

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