Standard Agreement in English

As a professional, I know that language and grammar play a crucial role in creating quality content that is both readable and optimized for search engines. One area that often causes confusion in written English is the use of standard agreement.

Standard agreement refers to the appropriate matching of subjects and verbs in a sentence. A subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action of the sentence, and a verb is the action or state of being that the subject performs. The subject and verb must agree in number and person for a sentence to be grammatically correct.

The general rule for standard agreement is that a singular subject requires a singular verb, while a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that can be tricky to navigate.

One of the most common exceptions is when dealing with collective nouns. Collective nouns are words that refer to a group of people or things as a single unit. Examples of collective nouns include team, family, audience, and government. When a collective noun is used as the subject of a sentence, it can take a singular or a plural verb, depending on the context.

For example, if we use the collective noun team as the subject of a sentence, we could write:

“The team is going to the championship game.” (singular verb)


“The team are arguing over who gets the MVP award.” (plural verb)

Another exception to the standard agreement rule happens when using the words “every,” “each,” “either,” and “neither” as the subject of a sentence. These words are always singular and require a singular verb, regardless of the number of the object they refer to.

For example:

“Every student in the class is required to read the book.”

“Neither of the books is interesting to me.”

It`s also important to note that in compound subjects, where two or more subjects are joined by “and,” the subject is always plural, and thus requires a plural verb.

For instance:

“The cats and dogs play together in the park.” (plural verb)

However, when using “or” or “nor” to connect two subjects, the verb agrees with the subject closest to it.

For example:

“Neither the cat nor the dog is allowed on the couch.” (singular verb)

Finally, in sentences that contain one subject and multiple verbs, the verbs must both agree in tense and person with the subject.

For example:

“The dog barked and chased its tail.” (both verbs are singular and present tense, matching the singular subject)

In conclusion, understanding standard agreement is crucial for creating grammatically correct and optimized content. By mastering this rule, writers can ensure that their subjects and verbs match appropriately, providing clarity and readability for their readers and improved search engine rankings.

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