As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of writing is ensuring proper subject-verb agreement. This means that the verb used in a sentence should match the subject in terms of number and person. Failure to do so can result in unclear and confusing sentences, which can negatively impact the overall readability and effectiveness of the writing.

Here are some key subject-verb agreement notes to keep in mind:

1. Singular subjects take singular verbs, while plural subjects take plural verbs. For example: « The cat jumps over the fence » (singular subject, singular verb) versus « The cats jump over the fence » (plural subject, plural verb).

2. When a sentence has compound subjects (two or more subjects joined by « and »), the verb should be plural. For example: « The dog and the cat play in the yard » (two subjects, plural verb).

3. When a sentence has singular subjects connected by « or » or « nor, » the verb should agree with the subject closest to it. For example: « Neither the dog nor the cat likes baths » (singular verb because « cat » is closest).

4. When using collective nouns (such as « team » or « group »), it depends on the context of the sentence. If the collective noun is acting as a unit, use a singular verb (« The team is playing well »). If the members of the group are acting as individuals, use a plural verb (« The team members are competing for a prize »).

5. In sentences that begin with « there » or « here, » the subject follows the verb. For example: « There are many reasons why people enjoy hiking » (plural verb because « reasons » is the subject).

6. When using indefinite pronouns (such as « everyone » or « anyone »), use singular verbs. For example: « Everyone is responsible for their own actions » (singular verb because « everyone » is singular).

It`s important to pay attention to subject-verb agreement in all types of writing, from academic papers to marketing copy. By using these subject-verb agreement notes as a guide, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and effective.