Pretend agreement is a term that describes an all-too-common phenomenon in writing. It occurs when the subject of a sentence and the verb don`t agree, but the writer uses a verb form that seems to match the subject regardless. This type of agreement mistake can be subtle, and it`s easy for even experienced writers to fall into this trap.
Why is pretend agreement a problem?
When readers come across sentences with pretend agreement, it can confuse them and make the text harder to understand. That`s because readers may assume that the verb agrees with the subject, even though it doesn`t. This problem can be especially problematic in technical or academic writing, where precision and clarity are essential.
For example, suppose a writer says, “The group of people were walking on the street.” In that case, the verb “were” suggests that the group is plural, but “group” is singular. The sentence should read, “The group of people was walking on the street.”
How to avoid pretend agreement
The solution to pretend agreement is simple: check that the verb agrees with the subject. However, this can be challenging when the subject is complex, such as when it involves modifying phrases.
One solution is to break down the sentence into smaller chunks and examine each part individually. This strategy can help you spot any agreement mistakes and ensure that the verb and subject match.
Another approach is to use a grammar checker tool, which can help identify agreement errors and suggest corrections. However, it`s important to remember that these tools are not always foolproof and can sometimes make incorrect suggestions.
Pretend agreement is a common mistake that can compromise the clarity and precision of your writing. By keeping an eye out for agreement errors and taking steps to avoid them, you can ensure that your writing is more polished and effective. Remember to double-check your sentences, break them down into smaller chunks if necessary, and use grammar checker tools to help you catch these mistakes. With practice, you`ll soon be able to avoid pretend agreement and write more confidently and professionally.