As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of writing that I pay attention to is verb agreement. Verbs are the backbone of any sentence. When they agree with the subject of the sentence, they create clarity and fluency, making the text easier to understand and follow. So, let`s dive into an example of verb agreement.
Example: The cat jumps on the table.
In this sentence, « cat » is the subject and « jumps » is the verb. The verb « jumps » agrees with the singular subject « cat. » If we were to change the subject to plural, we would have to change the verb accordingly.
Example: The cats jump on the table.
In this revised sentence, « cats » is the plural subject and « jump » is the plural verb. The verb « jump » now agrees with the plural subject « cats. »
It`s important to note that verb agreement also includes tense agreement. When the subject is in the present tense, the verb should be in the present tense, and when the subject is in the past tense, the verb should be in the past tense.
Example: She eats breakfast every morning.
In this sentence, the subject « she » is in the present tense, so the verb « eats » is also in the present tense.
Example: She ate breakfast this morning.
In this sentence, the subject « she » is in the past tense, so the verb « ate » is also in the past tense.
When writing in a complex sentence or with compound subjects, it is important to make sure the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.
Example: The dog and cat chase the mouse.
In this sentence, « dog » and « cat » are both subjects, so the verb « chase » agrees with the plural subjects.
Example: The cat and dog chase the mouse.
In this revised sentence, « cat » and « dog » are still both subjects, but « cat » is the subject closest to the verb, so the verb « chase » still agrees with the singular subject « cat. »
In conclusion, proper verb agreement is crucial in creating clear and concise writing. It is essential to understand how verbs and subjects agree with each other to make sentences more effective and understandable. Keep these examples in mind when writing to ensure your verb agreement is accurate and effective.