When it comes to mastering the English language, one of the most important skills to learn is agreement. Agreement refers to the grammatical rule that dictates the correct match between subjects and verbs. The ability to correctly use agreement in your writing can significantly enhance your writing skills and make your work more polished and professional.
In this article, we`ll explore the basics of agreement in English, including the types of agreement and common errors that writers make.
Types of Agreement
There are two types of agreement in English: subject-verb agreement and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
Subject-verb agreement is perhaps the most commonly known type of agreement. It refers to the rule that the subject of a sentence must agree with the verb in both number and person. For example, ”She eats breakfast every day” is correct, while ”She eat breakfast every day” is incorrect.
Pronoun-antecedent agreement, on the other hand, refers to the rule that a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in both number and person. An antecedent is a word that precedes a pronoun and refers to the same object or person. For example, ”Samantha went to the store, and she bought some apples” is correct, while ”Samantha went to the store, and they bought some apples” is incorrect.
Despite the simplicity of these rules, errors in agreement are a common issue for writers, especially those whose first language is not English. Here are some of the most common errors:
-Plural nouns with singular verbs: For example, ”The team is playing well” is correct, while ”The team are playing well” is incorrect.
-Singular nouns with plural verbs: For example, ”The apple trees are blooming” is correct, while ”The apple trees is blooming” is incorrect.
-Incorrect agreement with compound subjects: For example, ”The cat and the dog chases the ball” is incorrect, as it should read ”The cat and the dog chase the ball.”
-Incorrect agreement with collective nouns: Collective nouns refer to groups of people, animals, or objects. For example, ”The jury was unable to reach a verdict” is correct, while ”The jury were unable to reach a verdict” is incorrect.
Tips for Improving Your Agreement
Here are some tips on how to improve your agreement skills:
– Read and analyze well-written pieces to understand how agreement works in context.
– Practice with exercises that focus on subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
– Double-check your writing for errors in agreement before submitting it.
– Consider using a grammar checker or having a second set of eyes review your work to catch errors.
In conclusion, mastering agreement is essential for clear and effective writing in English. With practice and an understanding of the rules, you can improve your agreement skills and produce polished, professional writing.