As a copy editor, it is important to understand the rules of subject-verb agreement in order to produce high-quality content that is readable and professional. This is especially true when dealing with compound subjects, which can sometimes cause confusion. In this article, we will explore an example of subject-verb agreement with compound subjects to help you navigate this area of grammar.
First, let`s define what a compound subject is. A compound subject is a subject that consists of two or more nouns or pronouns joined by a conjunction such as „and“, „or“ or „nor“. For example, „John and Jane“ is a compound subject consisting of two nouns joined by the conjunction „and“. In order to ensure subject-verb agreement with compound subjects, we must keep in mind a few rules.
The first rule to remember is that a compound subject joined by „and“ requires a plural verb. For example, „John and Jane are going to the store“ is correct because „are“ is a plural verb that agrees with the plural compound subject „John and Jane“.
However, if the compound subject is joined by „or“ or „nor“, the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For example, „Either John or Jane is going to the store“ is correct because „is“ agrees with the singular noun „Jane“ which is the subject closest to the verb. Similarly, „Neither John nor Jane wants to go“ is correct because „wants“ agrees with the singular noun „Jane“.
It is important to note that compound subjects can sometimes be deceiving, especially if they are joined by a conjunction other than „and“, „or“ or „nor“. For example, „The cake, cookies, and ice cream was delicious“ is incorrect because the plural nouns „cake“, „cookies“, and „ice cream“ should require a plural verb, but the singular verb „was“ is used. A correct version of this sentence would be „The cake, cookies, and ice cream were delicious“.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement with compound subjects can be tricky, but it is an important aspect of producing grammatically correct content. Remember to use a plural verb for compound subjects joined by „and“, and to agree the verb with the subject closest to it for subjects joined by „or“ or „nor“. With these rules in mind, you can confidently navigate the realm of compound subjects and produce error-free content.