Agreement of Verb Rules

As a copy editor, one of the most common mistakes I come across is incorrect verb agreement. This can lead to confusing and unclear writing, which can ultimately damage the credibility of the content. In this article, we will explore the basics of verb agreement rules and how to apply them correctly in your writing to improve its readability and SEO.

What is Verb Agreement?

Verb agreement is the agreement between a subject and a verb in a sentence. It means that the verb used in a sentence must agree in number and person with the subject it refers to.

For instance, a singular subject requires a singular verb, and a plural subject requires a plural verb. For example, „She walks to the store” and „They walk to the store” are correct sentences because the verbs „walks” and „walk” agree with their respective subjects.

Verb Agreement Rules

There are several verb agreement rules you need to follow when writing. These rules include:

1. Singular subjects require a singular verb while plural subjects require a plural verb.

2. When there are two subjects joined by „and,” it requires a plural verb. For instance, „John and Jane are dancing.”

3. Use a singular verb for a phrase that starts with „one of” or „each of.” For example, „Each of the students is studying hard.”

4. When the subject of a sentence is a collective noun, the verb can be both singular and plural. If the group is acting as a whole, use a singular verb; if the group is acting as individuals, use a plural verb. For example, „The committee is meeting today” and „The committee are divided on the issue” are both correct.

5. When the subject of a sentence is separated by „or” or „nor,” the verb agrees in number with the closest subject. For example, „Neither the cat nor the dogs are allowed inside.”

6. When a subject is preceded by „every,” „either,” „neither,” „none,” „some,” „most,” etc., the verb agrees in number with the noun following the preposition. For example, „Most of the students are studying hard.”

Why is Proper Verb Agreement important for SEO?

Apart from improving the readability of your writing, proper verb agreement is essential for SEO. Search engines use algorithms to scan and analyze the content on your website. If your content is poorly written, it can negatively impact your SEO ranking.

Furthermore, search engines prefer clear and concise writing. Proper verb agreement helps writers achieve this. It helps to eliminate confusion and misunderstandings, thereby making your writing clear and easy to understand.


In conclusion, verb agreement is an essential element in writing, and it is important to follow the rules to improve the readability and SEO of your content. Proper verb agreement helps to create clear and concise writing, making your content easier to understand. As a copy editor, it is vital to ensure that the content you are editing follows these rules to maintain high-quality writing standards.