28 May Expressions of Quantity Subject Verb Agreement
Expressions of Quantity and Subject-Verb Agreement: A Copy Editor`s Guide
As a copy editor, one of the most important elements of writing that we need to make sure is spot-on is subject-verb agreement. This is the rule that governs the agreement between the subject, or the doer of the action, and the verb, or the action itself. Making sure that the verb agrees with the subject in terms of number and person is critical to ensure that the writing is clear, concise, and grammatically correct.
However, when it comes to expressions of quantity, subject-verb agreement can be a little tricky. Expressions of quantity refer to words or phrases that indicate the amount, number, or quantity of something, such as “a lot,” “many,” “few,” “some,” and “several.” These expressions can create confusion when it comes to subject-verb agreement because they can modify different parts of the sentence.
Here are some guidelines to help you ensure that your writing has correct subject-verb agreement when using expressions of quantity:
1. Identify the subject of the sentence.
The subject of the sentence is the noun or pronoun that is performing the action. In most cases, the subject comes before the verb, and the verb agrees with the subject. For example, “The dog barks” has the subject “dog” and the verb “barks” in agreement.
2. Pay attention to the expression of quantity.
Identify the expression of quantity in the sentence and determine what it is modifying. For example, in the sentence “Many people are attending the conference,” “Many” is the expression of quantity, and it modifies the subject “people.”
3. Match the verb to the subject, not the expression of quantity.
When the expression of quantity modifies the subject, the verb should be matched to the subject, not the expression of quantity. For example, in the sentence “Many people are attending the conference,” the verb “are” agrees with the subject “people,” not the expression of quantity “many.”
4. Use singular or plural verbs depending on the subject.
When the expression of quantity modifies a singular subject, use a singular verb. When it modifies a plural subject, use a plural verb. For example, “A lot of money is spent on advertising” has a singular verb because “money” is singular, while “A lot of people are attending the conference” has a plural verb because “people” is plural.
5. Use the correct verb form for collective nouns.
When using a collective noun, which refers to a group of people or things, use a singular verb if the group is being considered as a single unit and a plural verb if the individuals in the group are being considered separately. For example, “The team is playing well” has a singular verb because the team is being considered as a single unit, while “The team are arguing among themselves” has a plural verb because the individuals in the team are being considered separately.
In conclusion, expressions of quantity can be a challenge when it comes to ensuring subject-verb agreement in writing. By following these guidelines and carefully considering the subject and the expression of quantity, you can ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and effectively communicates your message. As a copy editor, it is our job to make sure that every word and sentence is correct, so we must be vigilant when it comes to expressions of quantity and subject-verb agreement.