When it comes to writing, one of the most important aspects to consider is verb agreement. Verbs are integral to crafting sentences that make sense and convey meaning. However, a common mistake many writers make is not ensuring that their verbs agree in number with their subjects.
What is verb agreement, you may ask? Simply put, it is the concept of matching the verb in a sentence with the subject that it refers to. The verb must agree with the subject in both tense and number. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb must be as well.
Let`s take a closer look at this concept with some examples:
Incorrect: The dog barks every day.
Correct: The dogs bark every day.
In the first sentence, „dog” is singular, but „barks” is plural. By changing the verb to „bark,” it now agrees in number with the subject.
Incorrect: The group of students was excited to go on the field trip.
Correct: The group of students were excited to go on the field trip.
In this example, „group” is singular, but it refers to multiple students. Therefore, the verb should be plural to match the collective noun.
Incorrect: Each of the apples were ripe.
Correct: Each of the apples was ripe.
While „apples” is plural, „each” refers to a single apple. Therefore, the verb should be singular.
In addition to ensuring proper subject-verb agreement, it is important to consider the tense of the verb in relation to the rest of the sentence. For example, if the subject is in the past tense, the verb should also be in the past tense.
Correct: She walked to the store yesterday.
Incorrect: She walks to the store yesterday.
In the first sentence, „walked” matches the past tense of „yesterday.” In the second sentence, „walks” is in present tense, which does not match the past tense of the rest of the sentence.
In conclusion, paying attention to verb agreement is essential for effective writing. By ensuring that your verbs match the number and tense of your subjects, you can create clear and concise sentences that convey your intended meaning.