Matter of Agreement

19 juni 2023 at 12:01

As a copyeditor, it’s important to understand the concept of a matter of agreement. This term refers to the agreement between the subject and the verb in a sentence. The subject is the person, place, or thing that performs the action, while the verb is the action itself.

When a sentence is constructed, the subject and verb must agree in terms of number. This means that a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. Failure to maintain this agreement can lead to grammatical errors, which can affect the readability and SEO of your content.

For example, consider the sentence “The cat jumps over the fence.” The subject of the sentence is “cat,” which is singular. The verb “jumps” is also singular, so the two agree in number. However, if we change the sentence to “The cats jump over the fence,” the subject is now plural, and the verb must be changed to “jump” to maintain the agreement.

One common mistake in subject-verb agreement is when a sentence contains a compound subject. This occurs when two or more subjects are joined by the conjunction “and.” In this case, the verb must be plural to agree with the compound subject.

For instance, “John and Sarah are going to the movies” is a sentence with a compound subject. The two subjects, John and Sarah, are both doing the action, so the verb “are” is plural.

It’s also important to be aware of phrases that come between the subject and the verb, such as prepositional phrases or clauses. These do not affect the agreement between the subject and verb.

For example, “The dog, along with his owner, goes for walks every day” is a sentence with a prepositional phrase between the subject “dog” and the verb “goes.” However, the subject “dog” is still singular and requires a singular verb.

In conclusion, maintaining the matter of agreement between the subject and verb in a sentence is crucial for clear and effective communication. As a copy editor, it’s important to pay close attention to this aspect of language to produce high-quality content that is both grammatically correct and optimized for SEO.