Verb Agreement in the Case of Interrupting Words

Posted on 9th May 2022

Verb Agreement in the Case of Interrupting Words

As a copy editor, it is your responsibility to ensure that the text you edit is grammatically correct and adheres to workplace or industry standards. One important area of grammar that you need to be familiar with is verb agreement. This is crucial in writing as it helps readers easily understand the meaning and context of the message conveyed.

When it comes to verb agreement, interrupting words are often a challenge. These words include phrases or clauses that interrupt the subject and verb of a sentence. Interrupting words can be set off by commas, parentheses, or dashes, and they can have different functions within the sentence.

The challenge comes when determining the correct verb to be used in the sentence. Should it take the singular or plural form? The answer depends on the function of the interrupting word.

If the interrupting word is a non-essential phrase that adds information to the sentence, then the verb should agree with the subject, not the interrupting phrase. For example, “The team, known for their impressive performance, is playing tomorrow.” Here, the subject is “team,” which is singular, so the verb “is” should also be singular.

However, if the interrupting phrase is an essential part of the sentence, then the verb should agree with the interrupting phrase. For example, “The book, along with its sequels, has been adapted into a movie series.” Here, the interrupting phrase “along with its sequels” is essential to the sentence, and the verb “has” should be singular to agree with it.

Another factor to consider is the number of interrupting words in a sentence. If there are several interrupting phrases in a sentence, the verb should still agree with the subject, not the interrupting words. For example, “The CEO, along with her assistants and advisors, is busy preparing for the conference.” Here, the subject is “CEO,” which is singular, so the verb “is” should agree with it.

In conclusion, verb agreement in the case of interrupting words can be a challenge, but it is important to ensure that the sentence is grammatically correct and conveys the intended meaning. Remember, if the interrupting phrase is non-essential, the verb should agree with the subject. However, if it is essential, the verb should agree with the interrupting phrase. Also, be sure to consider the number of interrupting words in the sentence when determining the correct verb.

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