Some subject-verb agreement errors are trickier than others


Many of the grammar mistakes people warn you about are sheer fiction.

The old “Don’t split an infinitive” is the quintessential example. Putting an adverb like “boldly” after the particle “to” but before the base verb “go” is not an error, contrary to what anyone will tell you. That means you’re able to boldly go there anytime you see fit.

But some grammar mistakes are all too real and, in some cases, easy to make — even for people who know their stuff. Topping the list of easy-to-make grammar mistakes are verb-agreement errors. And topping the list of easy-to-make verb-agreement errors are what are called relative-pronoun-antecedent-agreement errors.

Take, for example, this sentence that came up in my editing this week. “She’s one of the nurse practitioners who oversees the clinic. “That’s a mistake. Contrary to every instinct that might tell you that “who” goes with “oversees,” in this sentence it should be “oversee.” Here, in my recent column, I show you how to handle these.

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