One of the most common mistakes that writers make when it comes to subject and verb agreement is with indefinite pronouns. Indefinite pronouns are pronouns that do not refer to a specific person, place, or thing. Examples include anyone, everyone, someone, no one, somebody, and nobody. These pronouns can be tricky to match with the correct verb, causing confusion for readers.
The basic rule to remember is that singular indefinite pronouns take singular verbs, and plural indefinite pronouns take plural verbs. For example, “anyone who wants to participate must sign up” uses the singular verb “wants” to match the singular indefinite pronoun “anyone.” On the other hand, “everyone in the room raised their hand” uses the plural verb “raised” to match the plural indefinite pronoun “everyone.”
However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. The first exception is with the indefinite pronoun “each.” “Each” is always singular, so it always takes a singular verb, even when it is used in a sentence with other nouns or pronouns. For example, “Mary, John, and each of the children is going to the park.”
The second exception is with the indefinite pronoun “none.” “None” can be singular or plural, depending on what it is referring to. When it refers to a singular noun, it takes a singular verb. For example, “none of the cake was left.” When it refers to a plural noun, it takes a plural verb. For example, “none of the students were late to class.”
It is also important to note that some indefinite pronouns, such as “all,” “some,” and “most,” can be either singular or plural depending on the context. For example, “all of the cake was eaten” uses a singular verb to match the singular noun “cake.” However, “all of the students were happy” uses a plural verb to match the plural noun “students.”
In conclusion, when writing with indefinite pronouns, it is important to remember the basic rule of using singular verbs with singular pronouns and plural verbs with plural pronouns, with exceptions for “each” and “none.” It`s also important to consider the context of the sentence and whether the indefinite pronoun is referring to a singular or plural noun. By keeping these rules in mind, writers can avoid subject-verb agreement errors and create clear and effective writing.