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Author Topic: Subject-Verb Disagreement  (Read 1333 times)

michael

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Subject-Verb Disagreement
« on: October 28, 2016, 07:32:49 AM »
Subject-Verb Disagreement

The rule of thumb to remember: a sentence subject must agree with the verb of the sentence in number (singular or plural) and person (1st, 2nd or 3rd person).

Example of subject-verb disagreement:

He are my favorite writer.

    The subject: He (singular)

    The verb: are (plural)

In this example, the verb and the subject disagree in number. It is a common mistake especially for ESL writers, which is very easy to avoid.

Below you will see several examples of subject-verb disagreement, and will find ways to avoid it. Each example below has particular features. Please, carefully look through this guide.

Types of Subject-Verb Disagreement:

1. Usually, especially in a complex sentence, the subject and the verb are separated. It, therefore, may be hard to see the mistake whenever you make one. We therefore recommend to 1st identify the subject and the verb and ignore the words in-between, since they have no influence on the subject-verb agreement.

Wrong: The characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night lives in a world that has been turned upside-down.
Correct: The characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night live in a world that has been turned upside-down.

2. Proofreading a sentence with compound subjects may be quite a task even for an experienced writer, especially after hours of work. Therefore, we recommend following the lifesaver rule:

when the two subjects are connected by “and,” the verb will be plural in most situations (except cases when the joined subjects are preceded by “every,” “no,” or “nothing”);
when the subjects are joined by “nor” or “or,” the verb agrees with the closer subject (the last one).

Wrong: Christie and Prin is characters from Laurence’s The Diviners.
Correct: Christie and Prin are characters from Laurence’s The Diviners.

Wrong: Neither Edna’s neighbors nor her husband agree with her decision.
Correct: Neither Edna’s neighbours nor her husband agrees with her decision.

3. Be cautious with indefinite pronouns:

- use singular verbs with single indefinite pronouns (none, anybody, each, either, anyone);
- use plural verbs with plural indefinite pronouns (both, few, many, several);
- depending on the situation the words ‘some, all, any, most’ can be either singular or plural.

Wrong:   Each of Sylvia Plath’s “bee poems” use the theme of beekeeping to express the human condition.
Correct: Each of Sylvia Plath’s “bee poems” uses the theme of beekeeping to express the human condition.

Wrong: Both of the main characters in Waiting for Godot believes Godot is the purpose of life.
Correct: Both of the main characters in Waiting for Godot believe Godot is the purpose of life.

4. Plural nouns that are singular in meaning:

Some plural nouns take singular verbs, for example: athletics, economics, politics, news, mumps, and measles.

Wrong: Politics are the topic of the research paper.
Correct: Politics is the topic of the research paper.

5. Titles:

When used in sentences, the titles of books, plays, poems, movies, and so on are singular.

Wrong: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children are my favorite novel.
Correct: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children is my favorite novel.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2016, 07:37:53 AM by michael »