Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of writing. It refers to the necessity of the verb in a sentence to match the subject in terms of number, person, and tense. One of the most common mistakes in subject-verb agreement is with phrases.
A phrase is a group of words that do not include a subject and a verb working together. Instead, it is a part of a sentence that can act as a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb.
Subject-verb agreement can be challenging when a phrase is used as the subject in a sentence. In this case, the verb must agree in number and person with the actual subject that follows the phrase.
Consider the following examples:
Incorrect: Running and jumping is my favorite sport.
Correct: Running and jumping are my favorite sports.
The original sentence is incorrect because the subject is the plural “running and jumping,” but the verb “is” is singular. In the corrected sentence, the verb “are” agrees with the plural subject.
Incorrect: To ride a bike is difficult for him.
Correct: Riding a bike is difficult for him.
In the first sentence, “to ride a bike” is a phrase acting as the subject, and the singular verb “is” is used. However, in the corrected sentence, the gerund “riding” is now the subject, and the verb “is” agrees with the singular subject.
When using phrases as subjects, it is essential to identify the actual subject that comes after the phrase. The subject will determine the number and person of the verb in the sentence.
In summary, phrases can add variety and depth to writing, but it is essential to ensure subject-verb agreement when using them as subjects in a sentence. Always identify the actual subject that follows the phrase and ensure the verb agrees in number and person. By avoiding subject-verb agreement errors, your writing will be clearer, more concise, and more effective.