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Phrase Agreement


Phrase Agreement: The Key to Effective Communication

As a copy editor, you know that words matter. But do you also pay attention to phrase agreement? This often-overlooked aspect of grammar can significantly impact the clarity and professionalism of your writing. In this article, we’ll explore what phrase agreement is, why it matters, and how to ensure your writing is free of errors.

What is Phrase Agreement?

At a high level, phrase agreement refers to the proper matching of words and phrases within a sentence. Specifically, it relates to the agreement between the subject and the predicate, both in terms of grammatical number and tense.

For example, take the sentence: „The cat jumps on the bed.” Here, „cat” is the singular subject, and „jumps” is the singular verb in present tense. These elements match in number and tense, resulting in a grammatically correct sentence. However, consider the following incorrect version: „The cats jump on the bed.” Here, the subject and verb do not agree in number, resulting in a confusing sentence that does not make sense.

Why Does Phrase Agreement Matter?

Correct phrase agreement is critical for proper communication. Without it, your writing can be difficult to read, confusing, and unprofessional. Additionally, incorrect phrase agreement can impact the meaning of your sentences, leading to unintended misinterpretations.

Imagine you’re writing a description of a product for an e-commerce website. If your writing contains errors in phrase agreement, this can harm the credibility of your company and reduce the likelihood of making a sale.

How to Ensure Proper Phrase Agreement

So, how can you ensure your writing is free of phrase agreement errors?

1. Identify the subject and predicate of each sentence: Before you start writing, make sure you know which words are the subject and predicate of each sentence. This will help you ensure they match correctly in number and tense.

2. Keep an eye out for collective nouns: Collective nouns represent groups of people, animals, or things. Examples include „team,” „family,” and „fleet.” These nouns can be singular or plural, depending on how they are used in the sentence. Make sure you use the appropriate form of the verb based on the context.

3. Pay attention to compound subjects and predicates: In sentences with compound subjects or predicates, all the elements must agree with one another. For example, consider the sentence: „Tom and Jerry are going to the beach.” In this case, „Tom” and „Jerry” are the compound subject, and the verb „are going” matches their plural form.

4. Check for correct tense: Proper phrase agreement also means making sure the tense of all the verbs in a sentence matches the tense of the subject. This helps to ensure clarity and avoid confusion.

Final Thoughts

Phrase agreement may seem like a small detail, but it can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your writing. As a copy editor, it`s your job to make sure your writing is clear, concise, and easy to understand. By paying attention to this aspect of grammar, you can help your readers stay engaged and informed, ultimately leading to better communication and more successful writing.


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