Question on Subject Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is one of the most critical grammar rules that every writer must understand to effectively communicate with their readers. This is because subject-verb disagreement can completely change the meaning of a sentence, leading to confusion and misunderstanding. One common issue that many writers face is questions on subject-verb agreement. In this article, we will address some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic.

1. What is subject-verb agreement?

Subject-verb agreement refers to the agreement between the subject of a sentence and the verb that follows it. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural. For example, “I am” is correct, while “I is” is incorrect.

2. How do I identify the subject in a sentence?

The subject of a sentence is typically the noun or pronoun that performs the action of the verb. To identify the subject, ask yourself who or what is doing the action in the sentence. For example, in the sentence “The dog barked,” the subject is “the dog.”

3. What happens when the subject and verb have different tenses?

If the subject and verb have different tenses, it can create confusion for the reader. For example, in the sentence “She plays the guitar but hates it,” the verb “plays” is in the present tense, while the verb “hates” is in the past tense. To avoid this confusion and maintain subject-verb agreement, ensure that the verb tense matches the subject`s tense in the sentence.

4. What if the subject is a collective noun?

A collective noun refers to a group of people or things. Examples of collective nouns include “team,” “group,” and “herd.” When the subject is a collective noun, the verb can be either singular or plural, depending on the context. For example, “The team is practicing” is correct, while “The team are practicing” is also correct, depending on the speaker`s intended meaning.

5. What if the subject is a compound subject?

A compound subject refers to two or more subjects in a sentence. When the subject is a compound subject, the verb should agree with the subject(s) closest to it. For example, in the sentence “John and Jane are going to the store,” the verb “are” agrees with the plural subject “John and Jane.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is crucial in ensuring clear and effective communication in writing. By understanding the rules and guidelines for subject-verb agreement, writers can avoid confusion and clearly convey their intended meaning to their readers.