Subject verb agreement in relative clauses is a crucial grammatical concept that every copy editor should know. A relative clause is a type of clause that modifies a noun or pronoun in a sentence. It typically starts with a relative pronoun such as `who,` `whom,` `whose,` `that,` or `which.`
In English, the subject of a sentence must agree with the verb in terms of number and person. This rule also applies to relative clauses. Therefore, a singular subject takes a singular verb while a plural subject takes a plural verb.
For example, consider the sentence:
The girl who lives next door is very friendly.
In this sentence, the subject is `girl,` which is singular, and the verb is `lives,` which is also singular and agrees with the subject. If we change the sentence to a plural subject, the verb will also change to match the subject.
The girls who live next door are very friendly.
In this example, the subject is `girls,` which is plural, and the verb is `live,` which is also plural and agrees with the subject.
It is also important to note that when the relative pronoun is the subject of the relative clause, we should use a singular verb.
Who is coming to the party tonight?
In this example, `who` is the subject of the sentence and requires a singular verb `is.`
Another important aspect to consider when dealing with subject-verb agreement in relative clauses is the use of indefinite pronouns, such as `everyone,` `someone,` `nobody,` `anybody,` and `everybody.` These pronouns are always singular and require a singular verb in the relative clause.
Someone who knows how to fix cars is coming over today.
In this instance, `someone` is the subject, which is singular, and we use the singular verb `knows` to agree with it.
In conclusion, subject verb agreement is a crucial aspect of proper grammar in writing. As a copy editor, it is essential to pay attention to this rule, especially when dealing with relative clauses. By ensuring that the subject and verb agree in number and person, you can help to maintain clarity and coherence in writing and keep the text easily understandable for readers.