Short Stories with Subject Verb Agreement

Short Stories with Proper Subject-Verb Agreement: A Guide for Writers

Writing short stories is a creative and fulfilling endeavor. However, it also demands attention to detail, especially concerning grammar rules, such as subject-verb agreement, which can significantly affect the overall quality of your piece.

Subject-verb agreement refers to the correspondence of the subject`s number with the verb`s number in a sentence. It might seem like a simple concept, but it involves several complexities that even experienced writers sometimes struggle with.

Here are some tips on how to ensure that your short stories have proper subject-verb agreement:

1. Identify the subject of your sentence.

The subject is the person, thing, or idea that performs the action in a sentence. Finding the subject is crucial because it determines the form of the verb that you will use. For instance, the verb “to be” has different forms for singular and plural subjects – “is” for singular and “are” for plural.

Example: The cat is sleeping on the couch. (singular subject)

The cats are playing in the garden. (plural subject)

2. Consider the number of the subject.

Once you have identified your sentence`s subject, you must ensure that it agrees in number with the verb used. In other words, singular subjects require singular verbs, while plural subjects require plural verbs. A common mistake that writers make is using a singular verb form for plural subjects or vice versa.

Example: The book on the table are (should be “is”) interesting.

3. Watch out for compound subjects.

A compound subject is a sentence with more than one subject, joined by coordinating conjunctions like “and,” “or,” and “nor.” In this case, the verb should agree with the number of the subject closest to it.

Example: The cat and the dog are (plural) playing in the park.

4. Check for tricky subjects.

Some subjects can be tricky, leading writers to use the wrong verb form. For instance, collective nouns, such as “team,” “family,” and “audience,” can either be singular or plural, depending on their meaning in the sentence.

Example: The team is (collective noun as a single unit) winning the game.

The team are (collective noun as individuals) arguing over the strategy.

5. Pay attention to indefinite pronouns.

Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to a specific person, thing, or quantity. When used as a subject in a sentence, they often confuse writers on the appropriate verb form to use. Usually, singular indefinite pronouns take a singular verb, while plural indefinite pronouns take a plural verb.

Example: Everyone (singular indefinite pronoun) is enjoying the show.

Both (plural indefinite pronoun) are excited for the trip.

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that writers must master to create coherent and effective short stories. By applying the tips outlined above, you can ensure that the subject and verb in your sentences match in number, making your writing more clear, concise, and compelling.

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