Antecedent verb agreement is an essential aspect of good grammar. Antecedents are the nouns that precede a pronoun, and verb agreement refers to the way the verb agrees with the subject in number and person. Proper antecedent verb agreement ensures that sentences are coherent and that readers can understand what the author is trying to convey.
The basic principle of antecedent verb agreement is that the verb must agree in number and person with its antecedent. For example, if the antecedent is singular, the verb should be in the singular form, and if the antecedent is plural, the verb should be in the plural form.
Consider the following examples:
Incorrect: The group of students were studying for their exams.
Correct: The group of students was studying for its exams.
In the first example, the verb “were” does not agree with the singular antecedent “group,” which should be corrected to “was.” In the corrected sentence, the verb “was” agrees in number and person with the antecedent “group.”
Similarly, in the following example, the verb does not agree with the antecedent:
Incorrect: Each of the employees have their own office.
Correct: Each of the employees has his or her own office.
In this example, the singular verb “has” agrees with the singular antecedent “each employee,” and the pronoun “his or her” is used to avoid gender bias.
It is also essential to pay attention to collective nouns, which refer to a group of people or things. Collective nouns can be singular or plural, depending on the context. For example:
Incorrect: The team were playing their best game.
Correct: The team was playing its best game.
In the corrected sentence, the collective noun “team” is treated as a singular noun, and the verb “was” agrees in number and person with the antecedent.
In conclusion, antecedent verb agreement is an important aspect of good grammar that should not be overlooked. It ensures that sentences are clear and easy to understand, making the reading experience more enjoyable. By paying attention to antecedents and using the correct verb form, you can improve your writing and avoid common mistakes.