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Singular verb agreement is an essential aspect of English grammar that is often overlooked by many writers. The rule of subject-verb agreement states that a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb. For instance, “The cat runs” is correct, while “The cat run” is grammatically incorrect.

As a copy editor, it is essential to ensure that singular verb agreement is maintained in all your writing. The reason is that using the wrong verb tense can entirely change the meaning of a sentence, leading to confusion on the reader`s part. For example, “The team is playing” and “The team are playing” have different meanings, with the former implying that the team is functioning as one unit while the latter suggests that each member is playing separately.

The rule of singular verb agreement can be easy to follow, especially when dealing with simple subjects and verbs. However, it becomes more complicated when dealing with compound subjects or when the subject is separated from the verb by a phrase or clause.

For compound subjects connected with the conjunction “and,” the rule is simple: use a plural verb. For instance, “Tom and Jerry play football.” However, when two singular subjects are connected with “or” or “nor,” the verb is singular, and it agrees with the subject closer to it. For example, “Neither Mary nor her friends are coming” is incorrect. Instead, it should be “Neither Mary nor her friends is coming.”

When the subject is separated from the verb by a phrase or clause, it is easy to get confused about which verb tense to use. In such cases, ensure that you identify the subject and choose the correct verb tense that agrees with it. For example, “The car that was parked outside my house is mine,” is correct since the subject is “car,” which is singular.

In conclusion, as a copy editor, it is essential to ensure that singular verb agreement is maintained in all your writing. This rule may seem basic, but it is a fundamental aspect of English grammar that should not be overlooked. Following the rule of singular verb agreement will help you maintain clear and concise writing that accurately conveys your intended message.

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