Normative Agreement

Normative Agreement: What It Is and Why It Matters

As a copy editor, it`s important to be familiar with normative agreement and its significance in writing. Normative agreement refers to the grammatical rule that subject and verb must agree in number and person. In other words, if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb must also be plural.

For instance, if we take the sentence “The dog barks,” the subject is “dog,” which is singular, and the verb is “barks,” which is also singular. But, if we change the subject to “dogs,” the verb must change to “bark” to maintain normative agreement.

Why Normative Agreement Matters

Normative agreement matters because it helps to clarify what is being said in a sentence. When the subject and verb agree in number and person, it becomes easier for readers to understand the intended meaning. It also helps to make writing more professional and cohesive, which can add credibility to the message being conveyed.

If normative agreement is not followed, it can result in confusion and ambiguity. For example, the sentence “The team was divided on their opinion” has a subject-verb disagreement because “team” is singular, while “their” is plural. This error can be easily corrected by changing “their” to “its,” resulting in a clearer and more correct sentence: “The team was divided on its opinion.”

Common Mistakes in Normative Agreement

One of the most common mistakes in normative agreement occurs when the subject is a collective noun. Collective nouns refer to a group of people or things, but they are treated as singular, even though they represent a group. Examples of collective nouns include “team,” “family,” “committee,” “government,” and “staff.”

To maintain normative agreement with collective nouns, it`s important to use singular verbs. For example, “The family is going on vacation,” or “The committee is discussing the proposal.”

Another mistake in normative agreement is when the subject is separated from the verb by a long phrase or clause. In such cases, it`s important to identify the subject and ensure that the verb agrees with it in number and person. For example, “Walking down the street, the sound of music fills the air,” should be written as “Walking down the street, I hear the sound of music filling the air.”

In conclusion, normative agreement is an essential grammatical rule that helps to make writing clearer and more effective. As a copy editor, it`s important to be familiar with this rule and to correct any errors that may arise. By paying attention to subject-verb agreement, we can ensure that our writing is accurate, professional, and easy to understand.