Agreement and Syntax: A Guide for Clear and Effective Writing
As a writer, it is essential to ensure that your words communicate your intended message. To do this successfully, you must pay attention to two critical elements of writing: agreement and syntax.
Agreement refers to the proper matching of subject and verb in a sentence. The subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that performs the action or is being described. The verb is the action or state of being of the subject. Agreement means that the verb agrees in number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, or third) with the subject.
For example, let`s consider the sentence: « The dog barks. » The subject is « dog, » which is singular and in the third person. The verb « barks » agrees with the subject in both number and person.
Now, let`s look at this sentence: « The dogs barks. » Here, the subject « dogs » is plural, and the verb « barks » is singular. This sentence contains a disagreement in number, which creates confusion for the reader.
Correcting this sentence is easy. We can change the verb « barks » to « bark » so the subject and the verb are in agreement: « The dogs bark. »
Pay attention to subjects and verbs in complex sentences containing compound subjects (two or more subjects) or compound verbs (two or more verbs). As a general rule, remember that the verb must agree with the subject that is closest to it.
Now let`s talk about syntax – the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. Syntax plays an important role in clarity and readability. A well-structured sentence helps the reader understand your message more easily.
Here are some tips for better syntax:
– Keep your sentences short and to the point. Long, convoluted sentences can be challenging to follow and may confuse the reader.
– Use a variety of sentence structures to keep your writing interesting. Simple sentences can become tedious, and compound-complex sentences may be challenging to follow.
– Pay attention to the order of words and phrases in your sentences. In English, the typical order is subject-verb-object, but this can be varied to create more interesting sentence structures. Just be aware that rearranging words can change the meaning of the sentence.
– Use transitional words and phrases to connect sentences and ideas. These words (such as « furthermore, » « however, » or « in addition ») provide direction and cohesion to your writing.
In conclusion, paying attention to agreement and syntax is essential for clear and effective writing. Proper agreement helps your reader understand who or what is performing the action, while syntax ensures that your sentences are well-structured and easy to follow. Keep these tips in mind, and your writing will be clear, concise, and powerful.