As a copy editor, one of the most common errors that are spotted in written content is subject-verb disagreement. This error occurs when the subject and the verb in a sentence do not match in terms of number. This can be particularly problematic for search engine optimization (SEO) as it can affect the readability and clarity of the content, ultimately reducing its ranking potential. In this article, we will discuss three common examples of subject-verb disagreement and how to correct them.
Example 1: “The team of chefs are preparing dinner.”
In this example, the subject is “team” which is a collective noun. The verb “are” is incorrect as it implies that the team members are acting independently. To correct this sentence, we need to use a singular verb that agrees with the collective noun. The correct sentence would be, “The team of chefs is preparing dinner.”
Example 2: “Neither the teacher nor the students were impressed by the presentation.”
In this example, we have a compound subject “the teacher” and “the students.” Although both subjects are plural, the use of the word “neither” makes them negative and, therefore, singular. The verb “were” is incorrect as it is plural. To correct this sentence, we need to use a singular verb that agrees with the negative subject. The correct sentence would be, “Neither the teacher nor the students was impressed by the presentation.”
Example 3: “Each of the books on the shelf were mine.”
In this example, the subject is “each” which is a singular pronoun. However, the verb “were” is plural, making the sentence incorrect. To correct this sentence, we need to use a singular verb that agrees with the singular subject. The correct sentence would be, “Each of the books on the shelf was mine.”
In conclusion, subject-verb disagreement is a common error that can impact the readability and SEO potential of written content. As a copy editor, it is important to be able to recognize and correct these errors to ensure that the content is of high quality. By being vigilant in ensuring subject-verb agreement, we can improve the overall effectiveness of our writing.