Pronoun Antecedent and Subject Verb Agreement: A Guide to Improving Your Writing for SEO
As a copy editor, one of the most common mistakes I come across is incorrect pronoun antecedent and subject verb agreement. These errors can impact the clarity and readability of your writing, and can even affect your SEO rankings. In this article, I will provide an overview of what these concepts mean and how you can ensure your writing is grammatically correct.
Pronoun Antecedent Agreement
Pronoun antecedent agreement refers to the relationship between a pronoun (he, she, it, they, etc.) and the noun it is referring to. Simply put, the pronoun should correctly identify and agree in number with its antecedent. For example:
Incorrect: The company announced their new product line.
Correct: The company announced its new product line.
In the incorrect sentence, the pronoun „their“ does not agree in number with its antecedent „company,“ which is singular. This mistake can cause confusion for the reader and could also negatively impact SEO rankings if search engines interpret it as an error.
To avoid this mistake, always check that your pronouns agree in number with their antecedents. If you are unsure which pronoun to use, consider rephrasing the sentence to avoid confusion.
Subject Verb Agreement
Subject verb agreement refers to the relationship between the subject of a sentence (the noun or pronoun doing the action) and the verb (the action or state of being). The verb must agree in number with the subject. For example:
Incorrect: The group of students was playing their instruments.
Correct: The group of students were playing their instruments.
In the incorrect sentence, the verb „was“ does not agree in number with its subject „students,“ which is plural. This mistake can also cause confusion for the reader and negatively impact SEO.
To avoid this mistake, always check that your verb agrees in number with its subject. Remember that some subjects can be tricky, such as collective nouns (group, team, etc.) which can be either singular or plural depending on the context.
Pronoun antecedent and subject verb agreement are crucial components of grammatically correct writing. These mistakes can negatively impact the clarity and readability of your writing, and can even affect your SEO rankings. By always double-checking that your pronouns agree in number with their antecedents and your verbs agree in number with their subjects, you can ensure your writing is error-free and effective.