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Agreement in a Sentence: A Guide to Grammar and Syntax

Agreement in a sentence refers to the proper usage of subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and noun-verb agreement. It is essential for clear communication and effective writing that these agreements are properly observed.

Subject-Verb Agreement

A subject is the noun or pronoun that performs the action in a sentence. A verb is the action word that describes what the subject is doing. Subject-verb agreement means that the verb must agree with the subject in terms of number and person. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb should also be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb should be plural as well.

Incorrect: The dog barks at the mailman.

Correct: The dogs bark at the mailman.

In the incorrect example, the verb ‘barks’ is singular, while the subject ‘dogs’ is plural. In the correct example, the verb ‘bark’ agrees with the subject ‘dogs.’

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. An antecedent is the noun that the pronoun is replacing. Pronoun-antecedent agreement requires that the pronoun must agree with its antecedent in terms of number, gender, and person.

Incorrect: Each student must bring their own textbooks.

Correct: Each student must bring his or her own textbooks.

In the incorrect example, the pronoun ‘their’ is used to refer to the singular antecedent ‘each student.’ The correct example uses ‘his or her’ to indicate that either gender can be referred to.

Noun-Verb Agreement

Noun-verb agreement means that the verb agrees with the noun in terms of number. If the noun is singular, the verb should be singular. If the noun is plural, the verb should be plural.

Incorrect: The group of dancers were performing beautifully.

Correct: The group of dancers was performing beautifully.

In the incorrect example, ‘were’ is used to refer to the singular noun ‘group.’ The correct example uses ‘was’ to agree with the singular noun ‘group.’

In conclusion, agreement in a sentence is crucial for clear and effective communication. By properly observing subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and noun-verb agreement, a writer can ensure that their writing is coherent and easy to understand. So, whether you’re writing a book, a blog post, or an email, remember to always keep these agreements in mind to produce high-quality writing.