Verb Agreement Proper Nouns

24 mars 2022

As a copy editor, one critical aspect of maintaining grammatical accuracy in your writing is understanding verb agreement with proper nouns. Proper nouns are names given to specific people, places, or things, and as such, they require specific verb agreement rules.

Verb agreement with proper nouns involves matching the verb to the singular or plural form of the proper noun. For singular proper nouns, use singular verbs, and for plural proper nouns, use plural verbs. Let us take a closer look at these rules.

Singular Proper Nouns

When dealing with singular proper nouns, use singular verbs. These include names of people, such as John, Mary, and Jennifer. For example:

– John is going to the store.

– Mary loves to dance.

– Jennifer wants to be a doctor.

Note that in each sentence, the verb used agrees with the singular noun.

Singular common nouns, on the other hand, behave differently. For instance, “The dog barks” uses a singular common noun but with a plural verb. This is because the dog is one and the verb barks does not require an -s at the end.

Plural Proper Nouns

Plural proper nouns represent a group of people, such as The Beatles or the New York Giants. When dealing with plural proper nouns, use plural verbs. For example:

– The Beatles were a popular rock band.

– The New York Giants are a football team.

Plural common nouns also follow the same rule. As in “The dogs bark” uses a plural common noun with a plural verb, since the verb bark requires the -s at the end.

Collective Proper Nouns

A collective noun refers to a group of people or things. For example, class, committee, or team. When using collective proper nouns, it is often better to use singular verbs. However, you can use plural verbs when referring to the individuals in the group. For example:

– The team is playing well. (singular verb)

– The team are working hard. (plural verb)

In the first sentence, the verb is singular, which means the focus is on the team as a whole. In the second sentence, the verb is plural, which means the focus is on the individuals in the team.

In conclusion, verb agreement with proper nouns is an essential aspect of good copy editing skills. Always remember to use the correct agreement to maintain proper grammar and clarity in your writing.

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