Subject-verb agreement can be a confusing topic for even the most experienced writers. It refers to the relationship between the subject and the verb in a sentence, and ensuring that they match in number and person. Understanding subject-verb agreement is crucial for effective communication and professional writing, not to mention search engine optimization (SEO). Below are some tips to help you manage and understand subject-verb agreement with ease.
1. Identify the subject and the verb
Before anything else, it is important to identify the subject and verb in a sentence. The subject is the noun or pronoun that is doing the action or being described. The verb is the action or state of being that the subject is expressing. Once you have identified these two essential components, you can then determine whether they match in number and person.
2. Know the rules
There are rules to follow when it comes to subject-verb agreement. For instance, a singular subject requires a singular verb and a plural subject requires a plural verb. Also, subjects and verbs should agree in person, meaning that if the subject is in the third person singular (he, she, it), the verb should also be in the third person singular form.
3. Pay attention to tricky subjects
Some subjects can be tricky to match with the right verb. For instance, collective nouns, which refer to a group of individuals, can be singular or plural depending on the context. For example, the team is in the locker room (singular) versus the team are arguing (plural). Indefinite pronouns, such as anyone, someone, everyone, nobody, and each, are also singular and require singular verbs, whereas some pronouns like they, them, and their are plural and require plural verbs.
One way to get better at subject-verb agreement is to practice regularly. Write short sentences and identify the subject and verb, then check if they agree in number and person. Reading books and articles can also help you get a feel for how subjects and verbs work together in sentences.
5. Use online resources
There are several online resources available that can help you check your subject-verb agreement. For instance, Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are useful tools that can flag any errors in your writing and offer suggestions for improvement.
In conclusion, understanding subject-verb agreement is an essential skill for any writer, whether you are writing for SEO or other professional purposes. By identifying the subject and verb in a sentence, knowing the rules, paying attention to tricky subjects, practicing regularly, and using online resources, you can improve your subject-verb agreement and enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.