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Subject-verb agreement is an essential part of grammar that ensures the coherence and clarity of any written work. As a copy editor, you need to have a firm grasp of these rules to help writers maintain consistency in their writing. In this article, we will discuss the general rules of subject-verb agreement that should be followed.

1. Singular subject requires a singular verb

The first rule of subject-verb agreement is that a singular subject requires a singular verb. For example, “The dog barks” is correct, while “The dog bark” is incorrect. If the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.

2. Plural subject requires a plural verb

On the flip side, plural subjects require plural verbs. For example, “The dogs bark” is correct, while “The dogs barks” is incorrect. It`s important to note that subject-verb agreement should be maintained even when the subject is separated from the verb by a phrase or clause.

3. Compound subjects take plural verbs

When two or more subjects are joined by “and,” they form a compound subject that requires a plural verb. For example, “The boy and his friend play video games together” is correct, while “The boy and his friend plays video games together” is incorrect.

4. Collective nouns can take singular or plural verbs

Collective nouns, such as “team,” “family,” or “government,” can take either singular or plural verbs depending on the context. For example, “The team is playing well” makes sense as a singular verb, while “The team are arguing among themselves” makes sense as a plural verb.

5. Indefinite pronouns take singular verbs

Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone,” “anyone,” or “nobody,” require a singular verb. For example, “Everyone knows the rules” is correct, while “Everyone know the rules” is incorrect.

In summary, subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of good writing. A singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. Compound subjects take plural verbs, and collective nouns can take either singular or plural verbs depending on the context. Lastly, indefinite pronouns take singular verbs. As a copy editor, it`s important to keep these rules in mind when editing written works to ensure clarity and consistency.