Subject Verb Agreement with Relative Pronouns

Subject-verb agreement is an essential aspect of writing that ensures the sentence makes sense and is grammatically correct. One area where it can become tricky is when dealing with relative pronouns. Relative pronouns link a clause or phrase to a noun or pronoun, commonly used ones include «who,» «whom,» «whose,» «that,» and «which.» In this article, we’ll discuss how to maintain subject-verb agreement with relative pronouns.

First and foremost, it`s crucial to identify the subject of the sentence to determine whether the verb should be singular or plural. The subject is the noun or pronoun that the sentence is about. For example, in the sentence, «The dog that barks loudly is a bulldog,» the subject is «dog.» Once you’ve identified the subject, you can match it with the correct verb.

When using the relative pronoun «who,» the verb should agree with the antecedent (the noun or pronoun to which the relative pronoun refers). For example, «The boy who loves pizza eats it every day.» In this sentence, «boy» is the antecedent, and «loves» is the singular verb that agrees with the singular subject.

When using «that» as a relative pronoun, it can refer to either singular or plural nouns. In this case, the verb`s agreement depends on whether the antecedent is singular or plural. For example, «The cats that meow in the night are annoying» uses «are» to agree with the plural noun «cats.»

When using «which,» it refers to a group or category and not a specific noun, so the verb must be plural. For example, «The cars, which are all red, are parked outside.»

Another common relative pronoun is «whom,» which is used as an object pronoun. However, it is increasingly becoming rare to use «whom» in modern language. But, when using «whom,» the verb must agree with the object pronoun. For example, «The man whom I met yesterday is a writer» uses «is» to agree with the singular subject «man.»

Lastly, when using «whose,» it shows possession, and the verb should match with the noun or pronoun that follows it. For example, «The girl whose books are always in order is a librarian» uses «are» to agree with the plural subject «books.»

In conclusion, maintaining subject-verb agreement with relative pronouns is essential in writing a grammatically correct sentence. When using relative pronouns, it`s crucial to identify the subject and match it with the correct verb form. Whether using «who,» «that,» «which,» «whom,» or «whose,» taking note of these rules and keeping them in mind will help to avoid common errors and improve the overall quality of your writing.