As a copy editor, one of the most common mistakes I see in writing is incorrect subject-verb agreement. This occurs when the verb does not match the number (singular or plural) of the subject it is referring to. This may seem like a minor detail, but it can affect the clarity and professionalism of your writing. Additionally, it can negatively impact your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
When it comes to SEO, using proper subject-verb agreement is crucial. Search engines rely on keywords and phrases to understand the content of a page. If you use incorrect subject-verb agreement, it can confuse search engines and make it more difficult for your content to rank well.
To avoid this mistake, it is important to understand the basic rules of subject-verb agreement. Here are some guidelines to follow:
1. Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs. For example, „The cat is sleeping“ and „The cats are sleeping.“
2. When a singular subject is connected by „or“ or „nor“ to another noun or pronoun, the verb should agree with the noun or pronoun closest to the verb. For example, „Neither the cat nor the dogs want to play“ and „Either the dogs or the cat wants to play.“
3. When collective nouns (such as „team“ or „family“) are used as the subject, the verb can be singular or plural depending on the context. For example, „The team is working hard“ and „The team are all wearing their uniforms.“
4. When the subject is a compound noun (such as „bread and butter“), the verb should agree with the noun closest to the verb. For example, „Bread and butter is a popular breakfast choice“ and „Bread and butter are delicious.“
5. When the subject is a phrase that starts with „one of“ or „each of,“ the verb should agree with the noun or pronoun that follows. For example, „One of the cats is sleeping“ and „Each of the dogs is barking.“
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and will be understood by both humans and search engines. Take the time to proofread your work and make sure that your subject-verb agreement is on point. Your readers, and your SEO efforts, will thank you!