Verb with Disagreement

As a copy editor, one of the most common errors I come across is the verb disagreement in a sentence. This error occurs when the verb used does not match the subject in the sentence. The consequence of verb disagreement is that it can change the entire meaning of a sentence, leading to confusion and making it difficult for readers to understand the writer`s message.

Identifying Verb Disagreement

Verb disagreement occurs when the verb used in a sentence does not agree with the subject. This means that the subject and the verb do not match in their form. For instance, using „is” instead of „are” in a sentence is a common example of verb disagreement. The best way to identify this error is to read the sentence and check if the verb matches the subject in terms of number and person.

There are two types of verb disagreement: subject-verb disagreement and pronoun-verb disagreement. Subject-verb disagreement occurs when the verb used does not match the subject in number or person. For example, „The cats plays outside” instead of „The cats play outside.” Pronoun-verb disagreement, on the other hand, occurs when the pronoun and the verb used do not match. For example, „He don`t like pizza” instead of „He doesn`t like pizza.”

Effects of Verb Disagreement

Verb disagreement can affect the clarity of a message and change the meaning of a sentence. It can make the writing confusing and could lead to communication breakdown between the writer and reader. Readers may find it difficult to understand the writer`s message, leading to loss of interest and engagement. In addition, verb disagreement can lead to a lack of credibility, making the writer appear unprofessional and careless.

Tips to Avoid Verb Disagreement

The solution to avoiding verb disagreement is to ensure that the verb matches the subject or pronoun in number and person. If the subject is singular, use a singular verb, and if it`s plural, use a plural verb. For instance, „The dog runs” versus „The dogs run.” Also, take note of irregular verbs that have different forms in the past tense. For example, „I drive to work” versus „I drove to work yesterday.”

Useful tools such as Grammarly can help in identifying and correcting verb disagreement errors. It is also important to proofread your work to catch any errors before submission.


Verb disagreement is a common error that can significantly affect the clarity of a message and the writer`s credibility. As a copy editor, it is crucial to identify and correct this error to ensure that the writing is clear and understandable. By understanding the rules of subject-verb and pronoun-verb agreement and proofreading your work, you can avoid this error and produce high-quality content that engages and connects with your readers.

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