As a copy editor, it`s essential to pay attention to grammar rules, including subject-verb agreement. This is crucial for ensuring that your content is clear, professional, and readable. One common mistake that can undermine the quality of your writing is a lack of agreement between the subject and verb.
Subject-verb agreement refers to the fact that the verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in terms of number (singular or plural). For example, if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular as well. This means that you should use “is” instead of “are” when referring to a single subject, and “are” instead of “is” for multiple subjects.
Sub-verb agreement can be particularly challenging when it comes to more complex sentences involving phrases or clauses. Here are some tips for mastering sub-verb agreement:
1. Identify the subject: The subject is the person, place, thing, or idea that the sentence is about. To determine the subject, ask yourself who or what is performing the action of the verb. For example, in the sentence “The dog barks loudly,” the subject is “dog.”
2. Determine the number of the subject: Is the subject singular or plural? This will determine the form of the verb you should use. For example, in the sentence “The dogs bark loudly,” the subject is plural, so the verb should be “bark.”
3. Watch out for tricky phrases: Some phrases can be confusing when it comes to sub-verb agreement. For example, phrases like “as well as” or “along with” can make it hard to identify the subject. In these cases, the subject closest to the verb should be used to determine the number of the verb. For example, in the sentence “The teacher, as well as the students, is on vacation,” the verb should be “is” because “teacher” is singular.
4. Be consistent: If you`re writing a longer piece, it`s essential to maintain consistency in sub-verb agreement throughout the entire piece. This means paying attention to agreement not just within individual sentences but also between sentences and paragraphs.
In conclusion, the exercise of sub-verb agreement is an essential skill for any copy editor. By paying close attention to the subject and verb in each sentence, and using these tips to navigate more complex phrases, you can ensure that your writing is clear, professional, and easy to understand. So take the time to practice sub-verb agreement, and your writing will be all the better for it!