Subject-verb agreement is an important aspect of writing that is often overlooked. It refers to the match between the subject and the verb in a sentence. When writing, it is essential to ensure that the subject and verb agree in number. This means that if the subject is singular, the verb should also be in the singular form, and if it is plural, the verb should be in the plural form. In this article, we will explore subject-verb agreement with phrases and clauses.

Phrases

A phrase is a group of words that functions as a single unit in a sentence. Phrases can serve different purposes in a sentence, but they do not contain a subject or a verb. Therefore, they are not grammatically complete sentences. However, when a phrase is used as a subject of a sentence, it must agree with the verb in number.

For example:

– Swimming in the ocean on a hot day feels refreshing. (The phrase „swimming in the ocean on a hot day” is singular, so the verb „feels” is in the singular form.)

– Running, jumping, and dancing are great ways to stay active. (The phrase „running, jumping, and dancing” is plural, so the verb „are” is in the plural form.)

Clauses

A clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb. Unlike phrases, clauses can function as complete sentences on their own. When a clause is used as the subject of a sentence, it must agree with the verb in number.

For example:

– That the sun rises in the east is a fact. (The clause „that the sun rises in the east” is singular, so the verb „is” is in the singular form.)

– Whether the concert will be canceled or not depends on the weather. (The clause „whether the concert will be canceled or not” is singular, so the verb „depends” is in the singular form.)

When a singular subject and a plural subject are connected by „and,” the verb should agree with the plural subject. However, when they are connected by „or” or „nor,” the verb should agree with the subject closest to it.

For example:

– Sarah and her friends are going to the park. (The subject „Sarah and her friends” is plural, so the verb „are” is in the plural form.)

– Neither the teacher nor the students were happy with the test results. (The subject „the teacher” is singular, so the verb „was” is in the singular form.)

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of writing that should not be ignored. When using phrases and clauses as subjects, it is crucial to ensure that they agree with the verb in number. By following these rules, you can improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing.