Agreement in US English: A Guide for Writers
When writing in US English, it`s important to understand proper agreement to ensure your writing is grammatically correct and clear. Agreement refers to the relationship between different parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, and verbs, and how they work together in a sentence. Here`s a guide to help you master agreement in your writing.
One of the most common types of agreement is subject-verb agreement. This means that the subject of a sentence needs to agree with the verb in terms of number and person. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb should be in the singular form as well.
Incorrect: The team are playing well.
Correct: The team is playing well.
Incorrect: Mary and her sisters is visiting next week.
Correct: Mary and her sisters are visiting next week.
When dealing with collective nouns like “team” or “family,” remember that they can either be singular or plural depending on the context of the sentence.
Another important type of agreement to keep in mind is pronoun-antecedent agreement. This means that pronouns (like he, she, they, it) need to match the noun they are referring to (the antecedent) in terms of gender, number, and person.
Incorrect: Everyone should bring their own lunch to the picnic.
Correct: Everyone should bring his or her own lunch to the picnic.
Incorrect: The company announced that they were cutting jobs.
Correct: The company announced that it was cutting jobs.
It can be tricky to maintain pronoun-antecedent agreement when dealing with singular nouns that are gender-neutral. In this case, it`s best to use a plural pronoun or rephrase the sentence to avoid the issue.
Verb Tense Agreement
Agreement also extends to verb tense, which refers to the time frame of the action being described. When writing, be sure to maintain consistent verb tense throughout your writing and avoid shifting from past to present or vice versa.
Incorrect: I walked to school, and then I see my friend.
Correct: I walked to school, and then I saw my friend.
Incorrect: Yesterday, I play tennis with my sister.
Correct: Yesterday, I played tennis with my sister.
Consistent verb tense helps to establish a logical timeline in your writing and keeps your reader from getting confused.
In conclusion, mastering agreement in US English takes practice and attention to detail. Remember to pay attention to subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and verb tense agreement. By doing so, you`ll be able to write clear, grammatically correct sentences that effectively communicate your ideas.