Subject-verb agreement is a grammatical concept that refers to the proper use of verbs according to the number and person of the subject in a sentence. Correct subject-verb agreement is essential in communication, as it helps to convey the intended meaning of the sentence accurately. In this article, we will focus on subject-verb agreement in conversation and highlight some common errors to avoid.
One common error in conversation is the agreement between a singular subject and plural verb or vice versa. For instance, saying « The group of students is practicing for the competition » is correct, but saying « The group of students are practicing for the competition » is incorrect. In the latter, the plural verb « are » does not agree with the singular subject « group. »
Another error is failing to recognize the number of the subject, leading to an incorrect agreement. For example, saying « The number of visitors to the museum have increased recently » is incorrect because the subject « number » is singular, and the correct verb to use is « has » instead of « have. » Therefore, it should be « The number of visitors to the museum has increased recently. »
In some cases, the subject of a sentence is unclear, leading to incorrect agreement. For example, saying « There`s a lot of apples on the tree » is incorrect because the verb « is » does not agree with the plural subject « apples. » A better way to state the sentence would be « There are a lot of apples on the tree, » where the verb « are » agrees with the plural subject « apples. »
In conversation, we often encounter indefinite pronouns such as « everyone, » « someone, » and « anyone, » which require careful attention when it comes to subject-verb agreement. For example, saying « Everyone is responsible for their own actions » is correct because the pronoun « their » is plural, which agrees with the indefinite pronoun « everyone. » However, saying « Everyone is responsible for his or her actions » is also correct, as it uses a singular pronoun « his or her » to agree with the indefinite pronoun « everyone. »
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is crucial in conversation to ensure that the intended meaning of the sentence is accurately conveyed. Common errors such as agreement between a singular subject and plural verb, failure to recognize the number of the subject, unclear subjects, and indefinite pronouns can be avoided by paying careful attention to the subject-verb agreement rules. As a professional, always remember to keep these rules in mind when editing any piece of conversation to ensure that it is grammatically correct, clear and precise.