As a copy editor, one of the biggest challenges in creating headlines and news articles is achieving proper subject-verb agreement. This involves ensuring that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number and tense, which can greatly impact the clarity and accuracy of the message being conveyed.
Subject-verb agreement is essential because it helps to convey the correct information to the reader. When the subject and verb do not agree, the sentence can become confusing, and the intended meaning may be lost. For example, consider the sentence “The team are playing well.” In this example, the subject (team) and the verb (are playing) do not agree in number, as “team” is singular, and “are playing” is plural. The correct sentence should read, “The team is playing well.”
Another common issue with subject-verb agreement in news articles is ensuring that the tense remains consistent throughout the article. This means that when a specific tense is chosen, it should be maintained throughout the article to avoid confusion. For example, if an article starts in the past tense, it should remain in the past tense throughout the entire article. The same applies to the present and future tense.
In addition to proper subject-verb agreement, it is important to use the correct form of the verb for the tense being used. There are various forms of verbs, including regular and irregular verbs. Regular verbs follow a specific pattern when forming past and present tenses, while irregular verbs have their own unique forms for past and present tenses. For example, the verb “swim” is a regular verb, and its past tense is formed by adding “-ed” (swam). However, the verb “go” is an irregular verb, and its past tense is formed by changing the form of the verb entirely (went).
In conclusion, proper subject-verb agreement is crucial in news writing, as it affects the clarity and accuracy of the message being conveyed. Consistency in tense and using the correct form of the verb are also important aspects of maintaining proper subject-verb agreement. As a professional, it is important to pay close attention to these details to ensure that the content is appealing to both readers and search engines.