Demonstrate Correct Use of Subject-Verb Agreement: A Copy Editor`s Guide

As a copy editor, it`s crucial to ensure that the articles, blog posts, and other content you work on are grammatically correct and easy to read. One of the essential aspects of good writing is proper subject-verb agreement. Subject-verb agreement refers to the matching of a subject (the person, place, or thing doing the action) with the appropriate verb (the word that conveys the action or state of being). Here are some tips on how to demonstrate correct use of subject-verb agreement:

1. Know the basic rules

The basic rule of subject-verb agreement is that a singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb. For example, “The cat purrs” (singular subject/verb) and “The cats purr” (plural subject/verb). However, there are exceptions and nuances to this rule, such as collective nouns (like “team” or “family”) that can be either singular or plural depending on context.

2. Pay attention to verb tense

Verb tense and subject-verb agreement are closely related. In general, the tense of the verb should match the time frame of the subject. For example, “The dog barks” (present tense) and “The dog barked” (past tense). If the subject is plural, the verb should also be in the correct tense, such as “The dogs bark” (present tense) and “The dogs barked” (past tense).

3. Watch for tricky subjects

Some subjects can be tricky when it comes to subject-verb agreement. One example is compound subjects, which are two or more subjects that are joined by “and.” In this case, the verb should be plural, such as “The cat and dog play.” Another example is when a prepositional phrase separates the subject from the verb. In this case, the verb should still agree with the subject, such as “The book on the table is new” (singular subject/verb).

4. Edit for consistency

One of the keys to good writing is consistency. When it comes to subject-verb agreement, make sure that you are consistent throughout the entire piece of writing. This means double-checking that all the subjects and verbs match and that the verb tense is consistent.

5. Use an online tool

Lastly, if you`re ever unsure about subject-verb agreement, there are many online tools that you can use to check your work. Grammarly and Hemingway Editor are two popular options that can help you catch errors in subject-verb agreement and other grammar areas.

In conclusion, demonstrating correct use of subject-verb agreement is a crucial part of being a copy editor. By knowing the basic rules, paying attention to verb tense, watching for tricky subjects, editing for consistency, and using online tools, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to read.