Subject verb agreement can be a tricky aspect of English grammar. When an intervening expression is added to a sentence, it can make subject verb agreement even more complex. However, by understanding the rules governing intervening expressions, you can master subject verb agreement and ensure that your writing is polished and professional.
An intervening expression is any phrase or clause that separates a subject from its verb. For example, in the sentence “The cat, who was sleeping on the couch, woke up suddenly,” the phrase “who was sleeping on the couch” is an intervening expression.
When dealing with intervening expressions, there are a few important rules to keep in mind:
1. The verb should agree with the subject, not the intervening expression.
In the example sentence above, the subject is “the cat,” and the verb is “woke up.” Even though the intervening expression contains a verb (“was sleeping”), the subject verb agreement is based on the cat rather than the intervening expression.
2. Intervening expressions can be ignored when determining subject verb agreement.
Consider this sentence: “The team, along with their coach, is preparing for the championship game.” Even though “their coach” is an intervening expression, it does not affect the subject verb agreement. The subject is still “the team,” and the verb should be singular to agree with it.
3. Plural intervening expressions can sometimes affect subject verb agreement.
If the intervening expression is plural, it may affect the subject verb agreement. For example, in the sentence “The cars, as well as the trucks, need to be serviced,” the plural intervening expression “as well as the trucks” affects the subject verb agreement. The verb should be plural to agree with the plural subject.
4. Words such as “including” and “such as” do not make the subject plural.
It is a common misconception that the use of words such as “including” and “such as” makes the subject plural. However, these words are simply introducing a list of items and do not affect subject verb agreement. For example, in the sentence “The menu includes chicken, beef, and fish,” the subject is “menu,” which is singular, and the verb should agree with it.
By keeping these rules in mind, you can navigate intervening expressions with ease and ensure that your writing is grammatically correct. Remember to always pay attention to the subject and verb, and consider whether the intervening expression affects subject verb agreement. With practice, you will be able to master subject verb agreement and make your writing clearer and more effective.