As a copy editor, it`s important to ensure that the subject and verb in a sentence agree with each other. This is known as the assignment of subject-verb agreement. A correctly assigned subject-verb agreement makes a sentence easier to understand and provides clarity to the reader.
The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that is performing the action, while the verb is the action itself. When assigning subject-verb agreement, it`s important to remember that they both must agree in number. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
For example, in the sentence “The dog barks,” “dog” is the singular subject and “barks” is the singular verb, which correctly agrees with the subject. On the other hand, in the sentence “The dogs bark,” “dogs” is the plural subject and “bark” is the plural verb.
However, sometimes subject-verb agreement can become more complex. This can happen when the subject is separated from the verb by a long phrase or clause. In these cases, it`s important to identify the subject and ensure the verb agrees with it, rather than the noun or phrase that comes before it.
For example, in the sentence “The group of students who are graduating this year are excited,” it may be tempting to think that “group” is the subject and use the singular verb “is.” However, the subject is actually “students,” which is plural, so the verb should be “are.”
Another common issue is when there are multiple subjects connected by “and.” In this case, the verb must also be plural to match the subjects.
For example, in the sentence “John and Jane are going to the party,” both “John” and “Jane” are the subjects and the plural verb “are” correctly matches them.
Overall, the assignment of subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of writing and editing. By ensuring that subjects and verbs agree in number, we can create clear and concise sentences that are easy to understand. It`s important to take the time to identify the subject and choose the correct verb to match, even in more complex sentences. Doing so can greatly improve the quality of writing and make it more effective for the reader.