Verb Agreement Lists: A Vital Tool for Copy Editors

As a copy editor, one of the most important tasks is to ensure proper grammar usage. One of the trickiest areas of grammar is verb agreement. Verbs must agree with their subjects in number and person to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. This is where verb agreement lists come in handy.

What Are Verb Agreement Lists?

Verb agreement lists are tools used by copy editors to ensure that verbs agree with their subjects. They contain common subject-verb combinations and the appropriate verb forms. These lists help copy editors to quickly access and use the correct verb form for a given subject.

Why Are Verb Agreement Lists Important?

Verb agreement is crucial in effective communication. Incorrect verb usage can lead to confusion, ambiguity, and even misunderstandings. For example, “The team were” versus “The team was” could make a significant difference in the reader`s understanding of the sentence. The latter is correct because “team” is a singular noun. Copy editors must ensure that verbs match their subjects, and verb agreement lists help them avoid mistakes.

How to Use Verb Agreement Lists

As a copy editor, it is essential to have comprehensive verb agreement lists. These lists should be organized in a way that is easy to access and use. Here are some tips for using verb agreement lists effectively:

1. Familiarize yourself with the list: Take time to go through the verb agreement list to become familiar with its content. This will make it easier to use the list when editing.

2. Pay attention to subject-verb agreement: As you edit, pay close attention to subject-verb agreement. If you are unsure of the appropriate verb form, refer to the verb agreement list.

3. Keep the list close: Have the verb agreement list open while editing. This will save time and ensure that you are using the correct verb form.

4. Update the list: Verb agreement lists should be updated regularly to include new subject-verb combinations that may arise.


In conclusion, verb agreement lists are incredibly vital tools for copy editors. By using these lists, editors can quickly access and use the correct verb forms, ensuring proper grammar usage. Inaccurate verb usage can lead to confusion and misunderstandings, and so editors must pay close attention to subject-verb agreement. By mastering verb agreement lists, copy editors can elevate the quality of their work and produce effective communication.

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