Subject-verb agreement is a fundamental rule of grammar that helps ensure clear and effective communication in written language. This rule states that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number (i.e., singular or plural) and tense (i.e., present, past, or future). Failure to observe this rule can result in confusing or awkward sentences that can significantly impact the effectiveness of a piece of writing.

One critical subject-verb agreement rule to keep in mind is the use of compound subjects. When two or more subjects are joined by the conjunctions “and” or “or,” the verb used in the sentence must agree with the number of subjects.

For example, consider the following sentence: “John and Sarah walks to the park.” In this sentence, there are two subjects (John and Sarah), joined by the conjunction “and,” indicating a plural subject. However, the verb “walks” is singular, making the sentence grammatically incorrect. The correct sentence would be, “John and Sarah walk to the park.”

The same rule applies when subjects are connected by the conjunction “or.” For example: “Either the dog or the cats is responsible for the mess.” In this sentence, the subjects are the singular noun “dog” and the plural noun “cats.” The verb “is” is singular, which is incorrect. The correct sentence would be, “Either the dog or the cats are responsible for the mess.”

It`s also worth noting that when one of the subjects is singular and the other is plural, the verb should agree with the number of the subject that is closer to the verb. For example: “The teacher or students are responsible for the project.” In this sentence, “students” is plural, whereas “teacher” is singular. Therefore, the verb “are” agrees with the plural subject “students.”

In conclusion, the subject-verb agreement rule is essential to ensure that sentences are grammatically correct and easy to understand. Specifically, when using compound subjects joined by “and” or “or,” the verb must agree with the number of subjects in the sentence. By paying careful attention to this rule, writers can create clear, effective, and understandable sentences that will contribute to the overall success of their writing.