CHAPTER 13
Agreement, Pronoun,
Modifier, and Parallelism
Errors
SUBJECT–VERB AGREEMENT
A
verb should agree in number with its
subject
 Look



before the verb to find subject unless
The sentence begins with there/here is/are/has
been, etc.
The question construction is used
The subject is delayed
 When
nouns come between the subject and
verb, ignore these nouns in finding the
subject
SUBJECT–VERB AGREEMENT, CONT’D
 Rules
for compound subjects (two
nouns/pronouns form subject)
If nouns are joined by and, consider the subject
plural
 If joined by and, and referring to one concept,
consider the subject singular
 If joined by or, nor, either. . . or, neither. . . nor, the
verb agrees with the second noun
 If joined by as well as, in addition to, together with,
and similar phrases, the verb agrees with the first
noun

SUBJECT–VERB AGREEMENT, CONT’D
 Indefinite


pronoun subject
Most indefinite pronouns are considered singular
e.g., anyone, everybody, something require singular
verb
PRONOUN–ANTECEDENT AGREEMENT
A
pronoun should agree in number with the
noun or indefinite pronoun it replaces (the
antecedent)
 Compound



antecedent
If nouns are joined by and, the pronoun is usually
plural
If joined by or, nor, either. . . or, neither. . . nor,
the antecedent is the second noun
If joined by as well as, in addition to, together
with, and similar phrases, the antecedent is the
first noun
PRONOUN–ANTECEDENT AGREEMENT,
CONT’D
 Collective

If the antecedent is a collective noun, the
pronoun is singular unless the noun refers to
individuals within a group
 Indefinite

noun antecedent
pronoun antecedent
If the antecedent is a singular indefinite pronoun,
the pronoun that replaces it should be singular
PRONOUN–ANTECEDENT AGREEMENT,
CONT’D
 Generic
singular noun antecedent (refers
to both genders)

If antecedent is generic singular noun, the
pronoun that replaces it should be singular
 Pronouns
replacing indefinite pronoun or
generic noun antecedent should be
singular and include both genders (e.g., he
and she. . .)
PRONOUN REFERENCE,
CONSISTENCY, AND CASE
 Pronouns
should clearly refer to their
antecedents

Common errors



Ambiguous reference (antecedent is unclear)
Broad reference (antecedent is group of words or idea
rather than specific noun)
Missing antecedent (no grammatical antecedent in
sentence)
PRONOUN REFERENCE,
CONSISTENCY, AND CASE, CONT’D
 Be
consistent—do not unnecessarily
change the person of a pronoun

First person: I, me, my, we, us, our

Second person: you, your

Third person: he, she, it, his, her, its, they,
them, their
PRONOUN REFERENCE, CONSISTENCY,
AND CASE, CONT’D
 Pronoun
case (form) can change to reflect
grammatical function

Personal pronouns



Use I, we, they for subjects and subject completions
Use me, us, them for objects of verbs and objects of
prepositions
Interrogative pronouns


Use who for subjects and subject completions
Use whom for objects of verbs and objects of
prepositions
PRONOUN REFERENCE,
CONSISTENCY, AND CASE, CONT’D

Relative pronouns


Use who for subjects of relative (adjectival) clauses
and subject completions in relative clauses
Use whom for objects of verbs and objects of
prepositions in relative clauses
MODIFIER ERRORS
 Adjectives
and adverbs modify nouns and
verbs; they may be one word or a phrase
 Misplaced
modifiers

Commonly found at the end of sentences

Are out of place in a sentence, seeming to
modify a word they are not intended to modify

Need to be moved next to the word they are
intended to modify to avoid confusion
MODIFIER ERRORS, CONT’D
 Dangling
modifiers lack a suitable word to
modify
 Commonly
found at the beginning of
sentences as participial phrases
 To
fix dangling modifiers

Add missing information to dangling phrase

Add missing information to independent clause
PARALLELISM
 Parallelism
requires use of similar forms for
items placed in parallel positions in a sentence
 Parallelism
helps create coherence
 Strategy
for parallelism in compounds (two
elements)

Identify items that should be parallel (have similar
forms) by looking for joining word(s)


e.g., coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions,
comparisons
Ensure each item has same form (e.g., two nouns, two
complete verb forms, two prepositional phrases)
PARALLELISM, CONT’D
 Parallelism
 Strategy
in series (three or more items)
for parallelism in series

Identify start of series and each item in series

Ensure each item has same form (e.g., two
nouns, two complete verb forms, two
prepositional phrases)