That Subject Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule of English grammar that ensures clarity and coherence in written and spoken communication. This rule states that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number, namely, singular or plural. For example, „He walks“ is a correct sentence because both the subject (he) and the verb (walks) are singular. In contrast, „They walk“ is also correct because both the subject (they) and the verb (walk) are plural.

The importance of subject-verb agreement lies in its ability to convey the intended meaning of a sentence accurately. When there is a mismatch between the subject and verb, the sentence can become confusing or misleading, leading to misinterpretation of the message. For instance, „The group of students was excited“ is correct because the subject (group) is singular, even though the noun students is plural. On the other hand, „The group of students were excited“ is incorrect because it violates subject-verb agreement by using a plural verb (were) with a singular subject (group).

Another aspect of subject-verb agreement that copy editors and SEO writers should be aware of is collective nouns. Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things that are considered as a single entity. Examples include team, company, audience, committee, and staff. The trick with collective nouns is to determine whether they are functioning as singular or plural subjects in a sentence. For instance, „The team is playing well“ is correct because the collective noun team is considered a single unit. However, „The team are playing well“ is incorrect because it treats the collective noun as a group of individuals.

When it comes to SEO writing, subject-verb agreement plays a crucial role in optimizing content for search engines. Keywords and phrases that reflect the topic or theme of the content are essential for ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, if the subject and verb do not agree in number, it can affect the relevance and accuracy of the keywords used. For example, if a website is trying to rank for the keyword `dog breeds,` having a sentence like „Some dog owners believes that mixed breeds is healthier“ can harm its search engine visibility. This is because both subject (owners) and verb (believes) are plural, but the noun (breeds) is singular, causing a mismatch that search engine algorithms can detect and penalize.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a critical aspect of English grammar that copy editors and SEO writers must master to ensure effective communication and high search engine rankings. By paying attention to the number of subjects and verbs in a sentence, and understanding the rules governing collective nouns, writers can produce error-free content that is both clear and optimized for search engines.