Subject-Verb Disagreement (Common Grammar Mistakes)

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The rule of thumb to remember: a sentence subject must agree with the verb of the sentence in number (singular or plural) and person (1st, 2nd or 3rd person). Example of subject-verb disagreement: He are my favorite writer. • The subject: He (singular) • The verb: are (plural) In this example, the verb and the subject disagree in number. It is a common mistake especially for ESL writers, which is very easy to avoid.

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Subject-Verb Disagreement:

Subject-Verb Disagreement

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The rule of thumb to remember: a sentence subject must agree with the verb of the sentence in number (singular or plural) and person (1 st , 2 nd  or 3 rd  person). Example of subject-verb disagreement: He are my favorite writer. The subject: He (singular) The verb: are (plural )

Types of Subject-Verb Disagreement :

Types of Subject-Verb Disagreement  Usually, especially in a complex sentence, the  subject and the verb are separated . It, therefore, may be hard to see the mistake whenever you make one. We therefore recommend to 1 st  identify the subject and the verb and ignore the words in-between, since they have no influence on the subject-verb agreement. Incorrect Correct The characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night  lives in a world that has been turned upside-down. The characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night  live  in a world that has been turned upside-down.

Proofreading a sentence with compound subjects:

Proofreading a sentence with  compound subjects When the two subjects are connected by “and,” the verb will be plural in most situations (except cases when the joined subjects are preceded by “every,” “no,” or “nothing ”); When the subjects are joined by “nor” or “or,” the verb agrees with the closer subject (the last one ). Incorrect Correct Christie and Prin  is  characters from Laurence’s The Diviners. Christie and Prin   are  characters from Laurence’s The Diviners. Neither Edna’s neighbors nor her husband  agree with her decision. Neither Edna’s neighbours nor her husband  agrees with her decision.

Be cautious with indefinite pronouns::

Be cautious with  indefinite pronouns : Use singular verbs with single indefinite pronouns (none, anybody, each, either, anyone); Use plural verbs with plural indefinite pronouns (both, few, many, several); Depending on the situation the words ‘some, all, any, most’ can be either singular or plural . Incorrect Correct Each of Sylvia Plath’s “bee poems”  use  the theme of beekeeping to express the human condition. Each of Sylvia Plath’s “bee poems”  uses  the theme of beekeeping to express the human condition. Both of the main characters in Waiting for Godot   believes   Godot is the purpose of life. Both of the main characters in Waiting for Godot   believe   Godot is the purpose of life.

Plural nouns:

Plural nouns Some plural nouns take singular verbs, for example: athletics, economics, politics, news, mumps, and measles . Incorrect Correct Politics  are the topic of the research paper. Politics  is the topic of the research paper.

Titles:

Titles When used in sentences, the titles of books, plays, poems, movies, and so on are singular. Incorrect Correct Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children  are  my favorite novel. Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children  is  my favorite novel.

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