As copy editors, we understand the importance of proper grammatical construction. In the English language, one area of grammar that can often cause confusion is agreement in the future tense. This refers to the correct use of verb forms when talking about actions or events that have not yet taken place.
In the future tense, we use auxiliary verbs (usually “will” or “shall”) to form the future tense, followed by the base form of the main verb. For example:
– I will eat breakfast tomorrow.
– She shall sing at the concert next week.
However, there are certain situations where the future tense can become tricky. One common mistake is failing to match the subject and verb forms correctly. This is known as subject-verb agreement, and it is essential to communicate clearly and effectively. Here are some examples:
– Incorrect: The group of runners will each receive a medal.
– Correct: Each runner in the group will receive a medal.
– Incorrect: The committee will meet with the CEO of the company, and they will give their recommendations.
– Correct: The committee will meet with the CEO of the company, and it will give its recommendations.
In the first example, “group” is a singular subject, but the verb form “will receive” is plural. To correct this, we need to rearrange the sentence to make each runner the subject, followed by the singular verb form “will receive.” In the second example, “committee” is a singular subject, but the pronoun “they” is plural. To fix this, we need to change the pronoun to “it,” to match the singular subject.
Another area where agreement in the future tense can become confusing is with multiple subjects. When there are more than one subjects, you need to make sure that the verb agrees with the closest subject, not the closest noun. For example:
– Incorrect: The dog and the cat will chase the ball.
– Correct: The dog and the cat will chase the ball together.
– Incorrect: The cake, along with the cookies, will be baked tomorrow.
– Correct: The cake, along with the cookies, will be baked tomorrow.
In the first example, “dog” is singular and “cat” is plural, but the verb form “will chase” is plural too. To correct this, we need to use the plural verb form “will chase” to agree with the closest subject, which is “cat.” In the second example, “cake” is singular, but the prepositional phrase “along with the cookies” does not affect the subject-verb agreement. Therefore, we need to use the singular verb form “will be baked” to agree with the singular subject “cake.”
In conclusion, proper agreement in the future tense is essential to ensure clear communication and effective writing. As copy editors, it is our responsibility to ensure that our clients` content adheres to these rules, and we should always strive to achieve grammatical accuracy in all writing.