Correct Verb Agreement

As a copy editor, one of the most common mistakes I come across in writing is incorrect verb agreement. It may seem like a small detail, but it can have a significant impact on the overall clarity and professionalism of a piece of writing.

Verb agreement refers to the relationship between the subject of a sentence and the verb that is used to describe its action. In order for a sentence to be grammatically correct, the verb must agree in number and person with the subject of the sentence. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.

For example, consider the following sentence: “The cat walks down the street.” In this sentence, the subject “cat” is singular, so the verb “walks” is also singular. However, if we were to change the subject to a plural noun, like “cats,” we would need to change the verb to its plural form: “The cats walk down the street.”

It`s important to note that verb agreement also applies to compound subjects. If there are multiple subjects in a sentence, the verb must agree with the number and person of all of them. For example, consider the sentence: “John and Sarah run every morning.” In this case, the two subjects “John” and “Sarah” make up a compound subject, so the verb “run” must be in its plural form to match.

Another common mistake in verb agreement is when the subject and verb are separated by a phrase or clause. In these cases, it`s important to identify the true subject of the sentence and make sure the verb agrees with it. For example, consider the sentence: “The book, along with its companion, is on the shelf.” Here, the true subject is “book,” which is singular, so the verb “is” must be singular as well.

Correct verb agreement is not only important for proper grammar and clarity, but it also has implications for search engine optimization (SEO). Google and other search engines use advanced algorithms to analyze the content of webpages and determine their relevance to various search queries. One factor that these algorithms consider is the overall quality and readability of the content, which includes proper grammar and verb agreement.

In conclusion, correct verb agreement is essential for clear and professional writing. Whether you`re writing a blog post, a research paper, or a product description for your online store, it`s important to pay attention to the relationship between the subject and verb in each sentence. By doing so, you can improve the readability and SEO of your content and ensure that your writing is communicating your ideas effectively.

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