As a copy editor, it is highly important to understand the rules of subject-verb agreement. The subject of a sentence and the verb must agree in number (singular or plural) to make the sentence grammatically correct. Without proper subject-verb agreement, a sentence can be difficult to understand and can give off an unprofessional impression to readers.
One common mistake in subject-verb agreement is when a singular subject is paired with a plural verb or vice versa. For example, “The group of dogs was barking” is correct because “group” is singular, but “The group of dogs were barking” is incorrect because the verb “were” implies a plural subject. Similarly, “All of the apples are ripe” is correct because “apples” is plural, but “All of the apples is ripe” is incorrect because the singular verb “is” does not agree with the plural subject.
Another mistake to watch out for is in compound subjects, where two or more subjects are joined by “and.” In this case, a plural verb is required. For example, “The cat and the dog are sleeping” is correct because “cat” and “dog” are two separate subjects, while “The cat and the dog is sleeping” is incorrect because the singular verb “is” does not agree with the plural compound subject.
Subject-verb agreement also affects the clarity of a sentence. For example, “The group of teenagers play video games” may be confusing because it is unclear if “group” or “teenagers” is the subject. To make it clear, it should be revised to “The group of teenagers plays video games” or “The teenagers play video games.”
Using proper subject-verb agreement is not only important for clarity and professionalism, it also affects search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines like Google value proper grammar and syntax in web content, and pages with correct subject-verb agreement may rank higher in search results.
In conclusion, understanding and applying subject-verb agreement rules is essential for creating clear, professional, and SEO-friendly content. As a copy editor, it is important to pay attention to this aspect of grammar and ensure that all sentences are grammatically correct with proper subject-verb agreement.