Subject-verb disagreement is a common mistake that even the best writers make. It occurs when the subject and verb in a sentence do not agree in number. This can be frustrating for the reader, as it makes the sentence sound awkward and can cause confusion. Fortunately, there are simple ways to fix this problem.
First, it is important to understand the basic rules of subject-verb agreement. In general, a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. For example, „The cat eats” is correct because „cat” is a singular subject, and „eats” is a singular verb. Conversely, „The cats eat” is correct because „cats” is a plural subject, and „eat” is a plural verb.
One common mistake is when the subject and verb are separated by a phrase or clause. In this case, it is easy to get confused about the number of the subject. For example, „The book, along with the pen, is on the table” is incorrect because „book” is a singular subject, but the verb „is” is singular, referring to the pen. The correct sentence should be „The book, along with the pen, are on the table,” since „book” and „pen” are two separate subjects and require a plural verb.
Another common mistake is with collective nouns, which refer to a group of individuals as a single unit. For example, „The team is playing well” is correct because „team” is a collective noun and requires a singular verb. However, „The team are playing well” is also correct in British English, but not in American English.
To fix subject-verb disagreement, you need to identify the subject and verb in a sentence and ensure that they match in number. If the subject is singular, the verb should be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural. You also need to be careful when using phrases, clauses, and collective nouns, as these can cause confusion.
In conclusion, subject-verb disagreement is a common mistake that can be easily fixed with a good understanding of the rules of grammar. By identifying the subject and verb in a sentence and ensuring that they match in number, you can avoid this error and create clear and effective writing. By doing so, you can make your writing more effective and ensure that your message is communicated clearly to your readers.