Running Subject Verb Agreement: A Common Copy Editing Error
As a copy editor, one of the most common errors I come across is the issue of subject-verb agreement. This occurs when the verb in a sentence does not match the subject in terms of singular or plural form, thereby creating a grammatical mistake that can detract from the clarity and professionalism of a piece. In particular, the issue of running subject-verb agreement (also known as proximity agreement) is one that frequently crops up, making it an important area to focus on for writers and editors alike.
What is Running Subject Verb Agreement?
Running subject-verb agreement refers to the tendency to let the proximity between the subject and verb determine the form of the verb. For example, in the sentence “The book on the shelf, along with the pen, were missing,” the verb “were” should be “was” to match the singular subject “book.” However, many writers might mistakenly think that “pen” is the subject due to its proximity to the verb, leading them to use a plural form instead.
This type of error can occur in a variety of sentences, whether they contain compound subjects, phrases that separate the subject and verb, or other complexities that make it hard to identify the true subject. However, by paying attention to the subject of the sentence and ensuring that the verb agrees with it in terms of singular or plural form, writers and editors can improve the overall accuracy and coherence of their writing.
Why is Running Subject Verb Agreement Important for SEO?
In addition to being a basic aspect of grammatical correctness, running subject-verb agreement is also important for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes. That`s because search engines like Google prioritize content that is clear, concise, and free of errors, and running subject-verb agreement mistakes can signal to algorithms that a piece of content is less trustworthy or valuable. Moreover, readers may find it difficult to understand a sentence that contains an agreement error, leading to higher bounce rates and fewer shares or links.
To avoid running subject-verb agreement errors in your writing, be sure to do the following:
– Identify the true subject of a sentence and ensure that the verb agrees with it in terms of singular or plural form.
– Don`t let proximity or other distractions cloud your judgment when it comes to subject-verb agreement.
– Use tools like grammar checkers or proofreading software to catch errors that you might miss on your own.
– Always prioritize accuracy and clarity in your writing, both for the sake of SEO and for the benefit of your readers.
By paying attention to running subject-verb agreement and other common errors, you can strengthen your writing and improve your chances of success in today`s competitive digital landscape.