Agreement Problems in Sentences

Agreement Problems in Sentences: Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the most important aspects of writing well is ensuring that your sentences have proper agreement. Agreement refers to the correspondence between different parts of a sentence, such as subject-verb agreement or pronoun-antecedent agreement. When these elements are not in agreement, it can cause confusion and make your writing less effective. In this article, we will discuss some common agreement problems in sentences and how to avoid them.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is one of the most fundamental aspects of writing in English. It refers to the correspondence between the subject of a sentence and its verb. For example, the subject “he” requires a singular verb like “is” or “was,” while the subject “they” requires a plural verb like “are” or “were.” Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

– Incorrect: The team are practicing for the game.

– Correct: The team is practicing for the game.

– Incorrect: The book that she lent me were very interesting.

– Correct: The book that she lent me was very interesting.

Notice how the verb changes based on whether the subject is singular or plural. Be sure to pay attention to the subject of your sentence and choose the correct verb accordingly.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Another common agreement problem is pronoun-antecedent agreement. A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, while an antecedent is the noun that the pronoun refers to. For example, “she” is a pronoun that refers to the antecedent “Mary.” Pronoun-antecedent agreement means that the pronoun must match the antecedent in number, gender, and person. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

– Incorrect: Each student must bring their own textbook.

– Correct: Each student must bring his or her own textbook.

– Incorrect: The doctor said that they would call me back with the test results.

– Correct: The doctor said that he or she would call me back with the test results.

When the antecedent is singular, use a singular pronoun like “he” or “she.” When the antecedent is plural, use a plural pronoun like “they” or “them.” If the gender of the antecedent is unknown or irrelevant, use a gender-neutral pronoun like “they” or “his or her.”

Verb Tense Agreement

Verb tense agreement is another important aspect of agreement in sentences. It refers to the correspondence between the tense of the verb and the time period being referred to. For example, if you are writing about something that happened in the past, you should use the past tense. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

– Incorrect: I was studying for my exam when my friend calls me.

– Correct: I was studying for my exam when my friend called me.

– Incorrect: The movie is set in the 1950s, and tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with a musician.

– Correct: The movie is set in the 1950s, and tells the story of a young woman who fell in love with a musician.

Be sure to pay attention to the time period being referred to and use the appropriate tense of the verb.

In conclusion, proper agreement is essential for effective writing. By avoiding these common agreement problems, you can ensure that your sentences are clear, concise, and grammatically correct. Always pay attention to the subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and verb tense agreement to make your writing shine.

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