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Tricky Subject-Verb Agreement

Sentence: EACH of their NARRATIVES WERE shared during a semi-structured interview and lasted between one to two hours.


Edited Sentence: EACH of their narratives WAS shared during a semi-structured interview and lasted between one to two hours.


Explanation: The subject of a sentence should agree with the verb so that a singular subject has a singular verb while a plural subject has a plural verb. This agreement is called subject-verb agreement and can be tricky to achieve at times.


For example, in the sample sentence above, the noun closest to the verb is “narratives,” which is plural, so the writer made the verb plural (“were”) to agree with the noun “narratives.” However, the actual subject of the sentence is “each,” which is singular.


Therefore, in the edited sentence, the verb is changed to the singular tense (was) to agree with the subject of the sentence (each). When editing your work, be sure that your verbs agree with the true subject of the sentence rather than with the noun closest to the verb. Sometimes, the noun closest to the verb is the subject of the sentence; sometimes, it is not!


Until next week, Happy Writing!!! Dr. V Writing Coach-Editor-Speaker Author of I'm Not a Writer...I am Just in Graduate School (order your copy at https://www.amazon.com/Not-Writer-Just-Graduate-School/dp/1533392919)

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