Mistakes in agreement are common in the English language, but they can have a negative impact on the overall effectiveness of your writing. Agreement refers to ensuring that the subject and verb of a sentence agree in number, tense, and person. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes in agreement and how you can avoid them.
1. Subject-verb agreement
One of the most basic rules of agreement is making sure that the subject and verb of a sentence agree in number. For example, if the subject is plural, the verb should also be plural. Here’s an example:
Incorrect: The group of friends is going to the park.
Correct: The group of friends are going to the park.
In the first sentence, “group” is singular, but “is” is a singular verb. In the corrected sentence, “are” is used, which is a plural verb that agrees with the plural subject “friends.”
2. Pronoun-antecedent agreement
Another common mistake in agreement is ensuring that pronouns match their antecedents in person, number, and gender. The antecedent is the noun that the pronoun replaces. For example:
Incorrect: Each of the boys finished their homework.
Correct: Each of the boys finished his homework.
In the first sentence, “their” is plural, but “each” is singular. In the corrected sentence, “his” is used to agree with the singular antecedent “each.”
3. Verb tense agreement
Verb tense agreement is also essential in agreement, specifically when writing in different tenses. Here, the present tense is used when referring to something happening at the same time as now, the past tense for things that have already happened, and the future tense for actions that will happen in the future. For example:
Incorrect: She will go to the movies yesterday.
Correct: She went to the movies yesterday.
In the first sentence, the future tense is used in a sentence about the past. In the corrected sentence, the past tense is used, which matches the time frame of the action.
4. Collective nouns agreement
Finally, collective nouns can also create agreement issues. Collective nouns refer to groups of people or things as a single entity. For example:
Incorrect: The committee are divided in their opinions.
Correct: The committee is divided in its opinions.
In the first sentence, “committee” is a collective noun, but the verb “are” is plural. In the corrected sentence, “is” is used as the verb, which agrees with the singular collective noun “committee.”
In conclusion, agreement is crucial to ensure clear and professional writing. By paying attention to the four agreements mentioned above, you can avoid mistakes and improve the quality of your writing. Always proofread your work for agreement errors before submitting it to ensure that it is error-free and portrays your intended message.