Verbs agreement in sentences is an important aspect of grammar that is often overlooked but can greatly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. Essentially, verb agreement refers to the match between the tense (or form) of a verb and the subject of a sentence. A verb in the present tense, for instance, should be paired with a singular subject in its third-person singular form (e.g. he runs, she sings).
Inaccurate verb agreement can lead to confusion and weaken the strength of your message. Here are some common verb agreement errors to avoid:
1. Subject-verb disagreement
This occurs when the subject and verb of a sentence do not agree in terms of number (singular or plural). For example: “The team of players are arriving” should be “The team of players is arriving” since “team” is a singular entity.
2. Pronoun-verb disagreement
Similar to subject-verb disagreement, this error occurs when the pronoun used to refer to the subject does not agree with the verb in terms of number. For example: “Each of the students were given a book” should be “Each of the students was given a book” since “each” is a singular pronoun.
3. Incorrect tense
Using the wrong tense can also compromise the accuracy and clarity of your writing. For instance, switching between present and past tense within the same sentence can be jarring and confusing for readers. Ensure that your verb tense remains consistent throughout the sentence and paragraph.
Here are some tips to ensure proper verb agreement in your writing:
1. Identify the subject of the sentence and use the appropriate verb form.
2. Be mindful of collective nouns (such as “team” or “group”) which can be either singular or plural, depending on the context.
3. Pay attention to pronouns and ensure they match the verb in terms of number and person.
4. Read your sentences out loud to catch any errors in verb agreement and to ensure that your message is clear and effective.
In conclusion, proper verb agreement is an essential component of effective writing. By understanding the basic rules of verb agreement and common errors to avoid, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and impactful.