Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar that ensures that the subject and verb in a sentence agree with each other in terms of number. In particular, when it comes to numbers, it is important to pay attention to the subject-verb agreement, which can be tricky at times. In this article, we will discuss the subject-verb agreement for numbers and provide some helpful tips for writers and editors.
The basic rule for subject-verb agreement with numbers is as follows: a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject demands a plural verb. For instance, „one book is on the shelf,” and “two books are on the shelf” both follow the rule: the singular subject, book, takes a singular verb is, while the plural subject, books, takes a plural verb, are. It is a straightforward rule, but a common source of mistakes.
Exceptions to the rule
While the basic rule is easy to remember, there are some exceptions to this rule when it comes to certain words that are considered singular despite referring to a plural, such as „number,” „amount,” and „percentage.” In these cases, the verb must agree with the singular noun, and not the plural concept it represents. For example, “A large percentage of the class is absent,” instead of “A large percentage of the class are absent.”
Another exception to the rule is when using an indefinite pronoun, such as „everyone” or „anyone,” which also takes a singular verb. Even though these pronouns may refer to a group of people, they are grammatically considered singular. For instance, „Everyone in the audience was captivated by the performance.”
Using fractions, decimals, and percentages
When using fractions, decimals, or percentages in a sentence, it is important to pay attention to the subject-verb agreement. If the noun following the fraction is singular, the verb should be singular, and if it is plural, the verb should be plural. For example, „One-third of the pizza is left,” and „Two-thirds of the pizzas are gone.”
With decimals and percentages, the subject-verb agreement depends on the noun they are referring to, as in, „Twenty percent of the budget is allocated to marketing,” and „The majority of the budget is allocated to marketing.”
Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of grammar, and it is crucial to use it correctly when working with numbers. In summary, remember that a singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb. However, there are exceptions, such as with singular nouns that refer to plurals or indefinite pronouns, which require a singular verb. Finally, when using fractions, percentages, and decimals, it is essential to ensure that the verb agrees with the noun it refers to. By keeping these tips in mind, writers and editors can ensure that their writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand.