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Saturday, June 7, 2008

What is a Subject Verb Agreement Error?

Subject verb agreement errors occur when the subject and verb in the sentence do not agree. (Singular verbs need "s" at the end while plural verbs do not.)

ERROR: Joel and Marie attends class every day.

Subject is plural "Joel and Marie."

Verb is singular "attends."

CORRECTION: Joel and Marie attend class every day.

Subject is plural "Joel and Marie."

Verb is plural "attend."

Some subject verb agreement errors are more difficult to locate and correct . For example, nouns that sit inside prepositional phrases cannot be the subject of the sentence. Prepositional Phrases contain a preposition and noun or pronoun, but the noun or pronoun in the prepositional phrase cannot be the subject, for it is the object of the preposition.

ERROR: One of the women at my church work for the city council.

Subject is singular "One."

Verb is plural "work."

CORRECTION: One of the women at my church works for the city council.

Subject is singular "One."

Verb is singular "works."


"Of the women" is a prepositional phrase, and therefore "women" is not the subject of the sentence. If you remove "of the women" and "at my church" which is a second prepositional phrase, you are left with

One works for the city council.


A FEW EXAMPLES OF PREPOSITIONS

in on over under before below beneath about between for of off above around into with to at beside until

6 comments:

  1. Very informative post, even established writers sometimes commit this mistake because of carelessness.

    BTW, do you say "in the street" or "on the street"?

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love these hints of yours! At 66 I still find the English language interesting and mysterious!

    b

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the visit Jenaisle. Sent you an email with a long response to your question.

    Answer: Both. It just depends how the prep is used since preps are idiomatic.

    Hi B

    So glad to hear from you. You have a great way of just popping in periodical and handing me a pleasant surprise. How are the travels? I am on my way to you to find out. Take care my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the grammar pointers. I have lots to learn.
    See, I don't even know if that was correct English. Ugh
    I need to spend more time on this blog!

    ReplyDelete
  5. In the first example, "Joel and Marie attend(s) class everyday," the word "everyday" should be "every day."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Joshua
    Correction made. :>)

    ReplyDelete

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