How Does the Agreement with the Subject and Verb Affect the Meaning of the Message of the Sentence

As a copy editor, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is ensuring that the subject and verb agree in number. The subject of a sentence refers to the noun or pronoun that is performing the action of the verb, while the verb indicates the action or state of being of the subject. When these two elements of a sentence do not agree in number, the meaning of the message can be unclear and confusing.

In general, the subject and verb should agree in number, which means that if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular as well, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural too. For example, in the sentence «The dog barks at the mailman,» the subject «dog» is singular and the verb «barks» is also singular. The sentence is clear and concise, and the reader understands that it is one dog that is barking.

However, if the subject and verb do not agree in number, the sentence can be ambiguous and confusing. For example, consider the sentence «The group of students is fighting over the last piece of pizza.» In this sentence, the subject «group» is singular, while the verb «is fighting» is plural. This creates a sense of confusion for the reader, as it is not clear if the entire group is fighting over the pizza or if only some individuals within the group are fighting.

Similarly, a sentence with a singular subject and a plural verb can also create confusion. For example, consider the sentence «The book on the shelf need more space.» In this sentence, the subject «book» is singular, while the verb «need» is plural. This creates confusion for the reader, as it suggests that there are multiple books on the shelf that need more space, when in fact there is only one.

In essence, the agreement between the subject and verb in a sentence is crucial to the meaning of the message being conveyed. When the subject and verb agree in number, the sentence is clear, concise, and easily understood by the reader. When they do not agree, the sentence can become ambiguous and confusing, making it difficult for the reader to understand the intended meaning. Therefore, as a copy editor, it is important to pay close attention to subject-verb agreement when reviewing and editing content to ensure that the intended message is conveyed clearly and effectively to the reader.