As a copy editor, it is important to have a good grasp of grammar rules, and subject-verb agreement is one of the most fundamental. In the English language, verbs must agree with their subjects to ensure a sentence is grammatically correct. Errors in subject-verb agreement can detract from the clarity and professionalism of written works, particularly in the digital age where search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial. One common mistake in subject-verb agreement is known as two-thirds agreement.

Two-thirds subject-verb agreement occurs when there are two subjects in a sentence connected by `and`, but only one of the subjects is plural. In these instances, there is a tendency to use a plural verb to match the plural subject, leading to grammatical errors. For example:

– Incorrect: The dog and the cat loves to play outside.

– Correct: The dog and the cat love to play outside.

In the incorrect example, the verb `loves` agrees with the singular noun `cat`, but not with the plural noun `dog`. This leads to an awkward and incorrect sentence. To avoid this error, it is important to recognize that two-thirds agreement requires a plural verb to agree with the plural subject.

This mistake can occur in a variety of situations. For instance:

– Incorrect: The politician and his supporters believes he will win the election.

– Correct: The politician and his supporters believe he will win the election.

– Incorrect: Reading and writing is essential for academic success.

– Correct: Reading and writing are essential for academic success.

– Incorrect: The artist and his painting has won numerous awards.

– Correct: The artist and his painting have won numerous awards.

In each of these examples, it is important to recognize that the subjects of the sentence are not both plural, and thus require a plural verb to agree properly. By keeping this rule in mind, copy editors can ensure their written works are polished and professional.

Overall, two-thirds subject-verb agreement is an important concept for copy editors to understand. By avoiding this common mistake, writers can ensure their works are grammatically correct and optimized for search engines. By taking the time to proofread and revise, copy editors can help writers convey their messages with clarity and precision, even in the fast-paced digital world.