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15 Basic Rules in Subject Verb Agreement

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When it comes to writing, subject-verb agreement is among the most fundamental rules of grammar. If you`re a writer or editor, it is essential to master this rule to avoid common mistakes that can affect your content`s clarity and readability. Below are 15 basic rules in subject-verb agreement that you need to know.

1. A singular subject must have a singular verb, while a plural subject must have a plural verb.

Example: The cat sleeps on the couch. The dogs run in the park.

2. Always use the base form of the verb with a singular subject.

Example: The boy plays the guitar.

3. Use the third-person plural form of the verb when the subject is a third-person plural pronoun (they, their, etc.).

Example: They play basketball on Saturdays.

4. Use the third-person singular form of the verb when the subject is a third-person singular pronoun (he, she, it).

Example: She runs every morning.

5. Use a singular verb when the subject is a collective noun that refers to a whole group as a single entity.

Example: The team is ready to play.

6. Use a plural verb when the collective noun refers to individuals in a group or when the group is divided.

Example: The team are arguing among themselves.

7. In compound subjects joined by “and,” use a plural verb.

Example: The car and the bike are parked outside.

8. In compound subjects joined by “or,” use the verb that agrees with the closest subject.

Example: Either the cat or the dog is causing the noise.

9. In compound subjects joined by “nor,” use the verb that agrees with the closest subject.

Example: Neither the cat nor the dog is causing the noise.

10. With phrases that begin with “one of,” use a plural verb if the noun after “of” is plural.

Example: One of the boys were chosen for the team.

11. With phrases that begin with “each,” “every,” or “no,” use a singular verb.

Example: Each student has a book.

12. With inverted sentences (sentences that begin with the verb), use a singular verb after each of the following (there/here plus a singular noun, singular verb, or singular indefinite pronoun).

Example: There is a dog in the park.

13. Use a singular verb with titles of books, movies, songs, etc., even if the title includes a plural noun.

Example: The Lord of the Rings is a classic book.

14. Use a singular verb with percentages, amounts, and fractions, followed by a singular noun.

Example: Ten percent of the cake is missing.

15. Use a plural verb with percentages, amounts, and fractions, followed by a plural noun.

Example: Ten percent of the participants are from Australia.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is critical in every writing or editing task. Following these 15 basic rules can help you avoid common mistakes and ensure that your content is clear, concise, and easy to read.

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