Rules of Verb Agreement

As a copy editor, it`s important to have a solid understanding of grammar rules, including verb agreement. Correct verb agreement ensures that the subject and verb in a sentence are in agreement in terms of number and tense. Here are some important rules to keep in mind when it comes to verb agreement.

1. The Verb Must Agree with the Subject in Number

In English grammar, there are two types of number: singular and plural. The subject of a sentence will be either singular or plural, and the verb must agree with it in number. For example, “He walks to work” is correct, while “He walk to work” is incorrect.

2. Use Singular Verbs for Singular Collective Nouns

Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things, such as “team,” “family,” or “committee.” When these nouns are used as a single unit, they take singular verbs. For example, “The team is working hard to win” is correct, while “The team are working hard to win” is incorrect.

3. Use Singular Verbs for Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns, such as “anyone,” “everyone,” and “someone,” are always singular, so the verb must be singular as well. For example, “Everyone is responsible for their own actions” is correct, while “Everyone are responsible for their own actions” is incorrect.

4. Use Plural Verbs for Plural Collective Nouns

When collective nouns refer to individuals within the group, use a plural verb. For example, “The team are arguing among themselves” is correct, while “The team is arguing among themselves” is incorrect.

5. Use the Correct Verb Tense

Verbs need to agree not only in number, but also in tense. Use the correct verb tense to match the time frame of the sentence. For example, “I am eating breakfast” is present tense, while “I will have eaten breakfast by then” is future perfect tense.

Following these five rules will help ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and communicates your intended message clearly. As a copy editor, it`s your job to catch and correct verb agreement errors to ensure the highest level of quality in the text.

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