Vocal agreement is an essential aspect of written communication that helps to convey the intended message effectively. It refers to the agreement between the subject and verb in a sentence. Grammatically, the subject and verb must match in person and number to create a coherent and accurate sentence.
Inadequate vocal agreement can make a sentence ambiguous, confusing, and sometimes grammatically incorrect. As a copy editor, it is crucial to pay attention to the vocal agreement in a sentence. Errors in vocal agreement can compromise the quality of written communication, making it difficult to understand.
Consider the following examples:
Incorrect: The group of people were running in the park.
Correct: The group of people was running in the park.
In the first example, the plural subject `people` is wrongly matched with the plural verb `were,` making it grammatically incorrect. The revised sentence matches the subject `group` with the singular verb `was` to create appropriate vocal agreement.
Incorrect: The staff at the office takes their lunch breaks at noon.
Correct: The staff at the office takes its lunch breaks at noon.
The first sentence is incorrect because the singular noun `staff` is matched with the plural pronoun `their,` which is inconsistent when it comes to vocal agreement. The revised sentence ensures that the singular subject `staff` matches with the singular pronoun `its` to create appropriate vocal agreement.
Incorrect: Either John or his friends were responsible for the mess.
Correct: Either John or his friends was responsible for the mess.
The incorrect sentence is faulty since the verb `were responsible` matches the plural noun `friends,` which is not accurate since the sentence is referencing a singular object, `either John or his friends.` The corrected sentence matches the singular conjunction `either` with the singular verb `was` to create accurate vocal agreement.
In conclusion, vocal agreement is an essential aspect of written communication that copy editors must pay attention to in their work. Proper vocal agreement ensures that the intended message is conveyed effectively and accurately, leaving no room for ambiguity or confusion. By using the right verb tense and matching it appropriately with the subject, writers can create a more concise, comprehensive, and grammatically appropriate piece of writing.