The Importance of Subject-Verb Agreement in Manuscript Drafting
Sentence structure and grammar are extremely important in academic writing. Even though grammar is also important in informal writing, in the academic world, poor grammar can undermine the credibility of the author. You should make sure that subjects and verbs agree to make your papers grammatically correct. Correct sentences are easy to understand and demonstrate your good writing skills. Learn more about subject-verb agreement with College Writers team of professional writers, editors, and proofreaders.
Subject-Verb Agreement in Academic Papers
A subject means the person or thing that acts. A verb denotes the action itself, existence, or occurrence. For example, in the sentence “I feed my cat,” it’s easy to see who performs the action, and what the action is. Without subject-verb agreement, this sentence wouldn’t make any sense. You should care about subject-verb agreement because it’s necessary for all forms of English writing. Your readers should understand what you’re saying so we recommend that you practice grammar as often as you can.
Conventions with Subject-Verb Agreement
First, you should match the subject with the verb. However, this task isn’t that simple because there are many forms of verbs and subjects. Plural verbs must be used with plural subjects, and singular verbs must be used with singular subjects:
- Jeremy sings (singular);
- The students learn (plural).
However, you don’t need to use the “s” at the end when writing in the past tense. In this case, your verbs won’t change:
- I talked (singular);
- They talked (plural).
Usually, it’s easy to make your subjects and verbs agree by detecting the quantity of the subject. However, some phrases may be tricky:
- Everyone walks;
- No one does homework.
These are indefinite pronouns. Keep in mind that indefinite pronouns, such as everybody, someone, anyone, nobody, and everyone should be treated as singulars so you must use singular verbs with them. It’s easy to think of “everybody” as of the plural subject. However, this subject rather refers to singulars, considering every single person. In contrast, such indefinite pronouns as some or all, can act as either plural or singular. When referring to things that cannot be counted, some and all can agree with singular verbs.
Some nouns seem plural but are in fact singular. This is where you can see some interesting anomalies of the English language. Here are some examples:
- The crowd is waiting;
- The team completes tasks.
However, if members of the noun don’t act in unity, you should treat such a noun as plural and use plural verbs:
- The jury are still discussing the case.
Nevertheless, some collective nouns don’t become plural:
- Hundreds of voters attend.
If you’re not sure what verb you should use in a particular situation, you can always add a modifying word:
- Members of the party meet today.
Keep in mind that nouns that refer to amounts of time, distance, and money, are treated as singulars:
- Eight thousand dollars is enough.
- Ten hours is a long time.
- Five miles is impossible to run for me.
Nevertheless, fractions are plural when they modify plural nouns and singular when they modify singular nouns:
- Thirty percent of the article is meaningless.
- A third of the audience didn’t attend.
When using either or neither, you should only use singular verbs.
The Impact of Subject-Verb Agreement on Academic Writing
These conventions are crucial in academic writing. If you forget about subject-verb agreement, your writing will certainly suffer from it. You won’t be able to deliver your message while also undermining your credibility. Academic writing must be perfect in terms of grammar, syntax, and sentence structure so we recommend that you never ignore the rules of subject-verb agreement.
Even though following these rules isn’t easy, it’s also not so hard. All you have to do is practice more and study these rules. If you have problems with subject-verb agreement, don’t hesitate to contact College-Writers.com and order professional editing and proofreading so that your papers will impress anyone!