Subject-verb agreement is one of the most fundamental grammar rules in the English language. It refers to the proper matching of the subject and verb in a sentence, both in terms of tense and in terms of the number of the subject. Whether you are writing for academic purposes, professional communications, or for content marketing in the digital age, subject-verb agreement is a critical concept that you need to understand and master. In this article, we will focus on nothing but subject-verb agreement, and explore some important principles and examples to help you improve your writing skills.
The Basics of Subject-Verb Agreement
In its simplest form, subject-verb agreement requires that a singular subject must be matched with a singular verb, and a plural subject with a plural verb. For example:
– The dog barks. (Singular subject « dog » matched with singular verb « barks. »)
– The dogs bark. (Plural subject « dogs » matched with plural verb « bark. »)
However, subject-verb agreement is not always so straightforward. Here are some more complex situations to consider:
1. Compound Subjects
When two or more subjects are joined by « and, » they typically take a plural verb. However, if the compound subject is considered a single unit, it may take a singular verb. Example:
– Jenny and Tom are attending the conference. (Plural subject « Jenny and Tom » matched with plural verb « are attending. »)
– Peanut butter and jelly is my favorite sandwich. (Compound subject « peanut butter and jelly » considered a single unit, matched with singular verb « is. »)
2. Indefinite Pronouns
Indefinite pronouns, such as « everyone, » « someone, » and « no one, » always take a singular verb. Example:
– Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting. (Singular indefinite pronoun « everyone » matched with singular verb « is welcome. »)
3. Collective Nouns
Collective nouns, which refer to a group of individuals as a single entity, can take either a singular or plural verb depending on the context. Example:
– The team is practicing. (Collective noun « team » considered as a single unit, matched with singular verb « is practicing. »)
– The team are arguing among themselves. (Collective noun « team » considered as individuals, matched with plural verb « are arguing. »)
4. Singular Subjects with Plural Characteristics
Sometimes, a singular subject may have plural characteristics, such as « news, » « mathematics, » and « politics. » In such cases, the subject still takes a singular verb. Example:
– Mathematics is a challenging subject. (Singular subject « mathematics » matched with singular verb « is. »)
Importance of Subject-Verb Agreement in SEO
In the digital age, subject-verb agreement is more important than ever, particularly in the context of search engine optimization (SEO). When you publish content online, search engines rely heavily on keywords and phrases to rank your content. However, if your content is riddled with subject-verb agreement errors, it can negatively impact your search engine rankings and your overall online reputation.
To ensure that your content is optimized for SEO, make sure that you are familiar with the basic principles of subject-verb agreement and apply them consistently throughout your writing. This includes double-checking singular and plural subjects, as well as compound subjects, indefinite pronouns, collective nouns, and singular subjects with plural characteristics.
Subject-verb agreement may seem like a small detail, but it can have a big impact on the quality and credibility of your writing, particularly in the context of SEO. By understanding and mastering this basic grammar rule, you can elevate your writing skills and ensure that your content is optimized for search engine ranking. So, pay attention to this important principle, and take your writing to the next level!