Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of English grammar that often goes overlooked. It refers to the rule that the verb in a sentence must agree in number with its subject. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must be plural.

The importance of subject-verb agreement lies in its ability to make a sentence clear and easy to understand. A sentence with incorrect subject-verb agreement can leave the reader confused, unsure, or even misled. As a result, mastering subject-verb agreement is essential for effective communication, particularly in written content where errors can lead to negative reviews, decreased traffic, and diminished credibility.

Here are some tips to ensure proper subject-verb agreement:

1. Identify the subject: Before selecting a verb, identify the subject of the sentence. The subject is typically a noun or a pronoun that performs the action of the verb or is the recipient of the action.

2. Determine the number of the subject: Determine whether the subject is singular or plural. A singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb.

3. Watch out for special cases: Sometimes, the subject-verb agreement is tricky, especially with collective nouns, indefinite pronouns, and compound subjects. Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things and can be singular or plural, depending on the context. For example, “the team” is singular, while “the players” is plural. Indefinite pronouns such as “everyone,” “someone,” and “nobody” are always singular, while “both,” “few,” and “several” are always plural. Compound subjects joined by “and” take a plural verb, while those joined by “or” or “nor” take a singular verb.

4. Be consistent: Ensure consistency in subject-verb agreement throughout the sentence and the paragraph. Avoid switching from singular to plural or vice versa unless there is a good reason to do so.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of English grammar that should not be overlooked. As a copy editor, it is your responsibility to ensure proper subject-verb agreement in all content to maintain clarity and coherence. By following the tips outlined above, you can ensure your writing is free from errors and communicates your intended message effectively.