Non-standard subject-verb agreement is a common grammatical error that occurs when the subject and verb in a sentence do not match in number. This is a significant problem for writers who want to create compelling content that adheres to search engine optimization (SEO) guidelines. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of subject-verb agreement, discuss some non-standard forms of agreement, and provide tips for avoiding this error in your writing.
Subject-verb agreement is fundamental to good grammar and writing. Essentially, it means that the verb of a sentence agrees with the subject in terms of number. For example, “The cat eats” is correct because the singular subject “cat” is matched with the singular verb “eats”. However, if we change the subject to a plural noun, “The cats eat”, we must use the plural form of the verb (“eat”) to maintain proper agreement.
However, many writers struggle with non-standard forms of subject-verb agreement. For example, there are several types of collective nouns that can take either singular or plural verbs, depending on the context. For example, “The team is practicing” uses a singular verb (“is”) because the team is treated as a single entity. However, “The team are arguing” uses a plural verb (“are”) because the team members are acting individually.
Another common error is the use of indefinite pronouns such as “everyone”, “someone”, and “anyone”. These words are singular and require singular verbs. For example, “Everyone is invited to the party” is correct. However, “Everyone were invited to the party” is incorrect because “were” is a plural verb.
Perhaps the most challenging non-standard subject-verb agreement rule to master is the agreement of inverted sentences. In these sentences, the verb comes before the subject. For example, “In the garden grow tomatoes” is a non-standard form of agreement, because the singular subject “tomatoes” is matched with the plural verb “grow”. The correct form should be “In the garden grows tomatoes”.
To avoid non-standard subject-verb agreement in your writing, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, remember to match the verb with the subject in terms of number. Second, be aware of collective nouns, indefinite pronouns, and inverted sentences which require non-standard forms of agreement. Third, always proofread your writing for errors and inconsistencies.
In conclusion, non-standard subject-verb agreement is a common and challenging grammatical error for writers. By understanding the basic rules of subject-verb agreement, being aware of non-standard forms, and proofreading carefully, you can avoid this error and create clear, compelling, and SEO-friendly content.