The rule of proximity subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of good writing. This rule states that the verb used in a sentence should agree with the nearest or closest subject, regardless of other subjects in the sentence. In other words, the verb should match the subject that is closest to it.
Subject-verb agreement is important because it helps to ensure that your writing is clear and easy to understand. When the subject and verb don’t agree, it can cause confusion and make it difficult for readers to follow your train of thought.
For example, consider the following sentence: “The cat, as well as the dogs, enjoy playing in the yard.” The subject of the sentence is “cat,” and the verb should therefore be singular (“enjoys”). However, the verb “enjoy” is plural, which makes the sentence grammatically incorrect.
To correct this sentence according to the rule of proximity subject-verb agreement, we would rewrite it as follows: “The cats, as well as the dogs, enjoy playing in the yard.” In this case, the verb “enjoy” matches the subject “cats,” which is the closest subject to the verb.
Another example is this sentence: “The book, along with the pen, was left on the table.” The subject is “book,” which is singular. Therefore, the verb should be singular. However, the verb “were” is plural, which makes the sentence incorrect. To correct it, we could write: “The book, along with the pen, was left on the table.”
It is important to note that this rule applies not only to compound subjects (like in the examples above), but also to singular subjects that are followed by plural nouns or phrases. For example, “The boy, along with his friends, plays soccer on the weekends.”
In conclusion, following the rule of proximity subject-verb agreement is essential for clear and effective writing. By ensuring that your verb agrees with the nearest subject, you can help to prevent confusion and make your writing more readable. Remember to always check your work for subject-verb agreement to avoid making mistakes and to create writing that is professional and effective.