Subject Verb Agreement on Wikipedia: Tips and Best Practices
As one of the most popular online encyclopedias, Wikipedia is a treasure trove of information on a wide range of subjects. However, as with any platform that thrives on user-generated content, it is not uncommon to come across grammatical errors and inconsistencies in writing style.
One of the most fundamental aspects of good writing is subject-verb agreement. This refers to the agreement of the subject of a sentence with the verb in terms of number and person. For instance, if the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb must also be singular.
Subject-verb agreement is essential in ensuring the clarity and correctness of written language. As such, it is vital for Wikipedia editors to pay close attention to this aspect of writing when creating or editing articles.
Here are some tips and best practices for maintaining proper subject-verb agreement on Wikipedia:
1. Identify the subject and its number
Before selecting a verb, it is crucial to identify the subject of the sentence and determine whether it is singular or plural. This will help you select the appropriate verb that agrees with the subject in terms of number and person.
For example, in the sentence “The cat chases the mice,” “cat” is the singular subject, and “chases” is the singular verb that agrees with it. In contrast, the sentence “The cats chase the mice” has a plural subject (“cats”) and a plural verb (“chase”).
2. Be mindful of compound subjects
When a sentence has multiple subjects joined by “and,” the verb agreement must reflect the plural subject. For instance, in the sentence “The cat and the dog play together,” “cat” and “dog” are both singular nouns. However, because they are joined by “and,” the verb “play” must be plural to agree with the compound subject.
3. Watch out for subject-verb agreement with collective nouns
Collective nouns are words that refer to a group of people, animals, or things as a single entity. Examples of collective nouns include “team,” “herd,” and “group.” When using collective nouns as the subject of a sentence, the verb must agree with whether the group is being treated as a single entity or as individual members.
For instance, the sentence “The team is playing well” treats the team as a single entity, so the singular verb “is” is used. However, the sentence “The team are wearing different jerseys” treats the team as individual members, so the plural verb “are” is used.
4. Check for subject-verb agreement in complex sentences
Complex sentences can be challenging to navigate, so it is essential to check for subject-verb agreement with each clause. Each independent clause, or complete sentence, should have subject-verb agreement, even if the clauses are joined by a conjunction.
For example, the sentence “I ate breakfast, and my brother went for a run” has two independent clauses. The subject in the first clause is “I,” and the verb is “ate,” which agree in number. The subject in the second clause is “my brother,” and the verb is “went,” which also agree in number.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is an essential component of effective writing, including on Wikipedia. By following the tips and best practices outlined above, editors can ensure their contributions are clear, concise, and grammatically correct. Taking the time to review and revise writing for subject-verb agreement can help create a more polished and professional final product.