Verb Agreement Assessment

As a copy editor, one of the most critical aspects of our job is ensuring proper verb agreement. Not only is it essential for clear and concise communication, but it also plays a vital role in optimizing content for search engines.

Verb agreement refers to the correct pairing of subject and verb in a sentence. It may seem like a simple concept, but it can be tricky, especially when dealing with compound subjects, collective nouns, and indefinite pronouns. The basic rule is that a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. However, there are exceptions to this rule that require careful consideration.

So why is verb agreement assessment important in SEO? The answer lies in how search engines interpret content. Google and other search engines use algorithms that analyze and rank web pages based on various factors, including grammar and spelling. A page with poor verb agreement or other grammatical errors is less likely to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here are some tips for assessing verb agreement in your content:

1. Identify the subject: The first step in assessing verb agreement is to identify the subject of the sentence. Is it singular or plural? Once you have determined the subject, you can select the correct verb accordingly.

2. Be mindful of compound subjects: When two or more subjects are joined by “and,” the verb should be plural. For example, “The cat and the dog are sleeping.” However, when the subjects are joined by “or,” the verb should agree with the subject closest to the verb. For example, “Either the cat or the dog is sleeping.”

3. Pay attention to collective nouns: Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things, such as “team,” “family,” or “government.” These nouns can be singular or plural depending on the context. For example, “The team is playing well” (singular) versus “The team are arguing amongst themselves” (plural).

4. Consider indefinite pronouns: Indefinite pronouns, such as “everyone,” “anyone,” and “someone,” can be tricky when it comes to verb agreement. In general, these pronouns are singular, so the verb should be too. For example, “Everyone wants to be happy.” However, when the meaning of the sentence suggests a plural subject, the verb should be plural. For example, “Many people think that grammar is important.”

Verb agreement assessment may seem like a small and insignificant part of the editing process, but it can make a big difference in how your content is perceived by both readers and search engines. By taking the time to ensure proper verb agreement, you can improve the clarity and readability of your content while also boosting your SEO efforts.