As a copy editor, one of the most important aspects of writing that I scrutinize is grammar, specifically verb agreement. This may seem like a small detail, but it can have a big impact on the overall quality of writing and even affect search engine optimization (SEO).
What is verb agreement?
Verb agreement refers to the grammatical rule that the subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.
Why is verb agreement important for SEO?
Search engines like Google prioritize high-quality and error-free content. Even minor grammatical mistakes can lower the overall quality of a piece of writing, which can negatively impact its ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
For example, if a piece of content has multiple instances of subject-verb disagreement, it can signal to search engines that the content is of lower quality or less trustworthy. This can result in a lower ranking on SERPs and less visibility for the content.
Tips for ensuring agreement verb agreement:
1. Check the subject and verb. Double-check that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number. This is especially important when dealing with compound subjects or subjects that are separated from the verb by other words or clauses.
2. Use singular or plural pronouns correctly. Pronouns like “he, she, it” and “they, we, us” must agree with the subject they refer to in number. For example, if the subject is singular, use “he” or “she” instead of “they”.
3. Pay attention to collective nouns. Collective nouns, like “team” or “group”, can be tricky because they can refer to multiple individuals as a single entity. Use a singular verb when the collective noun is acting as a single unit, and a plural verb when members of the group are acting individually.
4. Watch out for irregular verbs. Some verbs, like “to be” or “to have”, have irregular forms in different tenses. Make sure to use the correct form of the verb that agrees with the subject.
In conclusion, verb agreement is an important aspect of writing that can impact both the quality of content and its ranking on search engines. By paying attention to subject-verb agreement, using pronouns correctly, and being aware of irregular verbs, writers can ensure that their content is error-free and optimized for SEO.