Word Usage Agreement

Word Usage Agreement: A Guide to Writing Flawless Content

As a copy editor, you surely know that one of the most important aspects of creating quality content is ensuring proper word usage agreement. Words are like building blocks that make up sentences, and failure to use them correctly can lead to ambiguity, confusion, and even a loss of credibility. Here’s what you need to know to write flawless content.

Subject-Verb Agreement

The most common type of word usage agreement issue is subject-verb agreement. Simply put, the subject of a sentence must agree with the verb in number. If the subject is singular, the verb must be singular too, and likewise for plural subjects and verbs. For example:

Incorrect: The horse runs fast.

Correct: The horse runs fast.

Correct: The horses run fast.

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Another common issue is pronoun-antecedent agreement. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent, which is the noun that it replaces. If the antecedent is singular, the pronoun must be singular too, and likewise for plural antecedents and pronouns. For example:

Incorrect: Each of the students brought their own lunch.

Correct: Each of the students brought his or her own lunch.

Correct: All of the students brought their own lunches.

Verb Tense Agreement

Verb tense agreement is also important for maintaining clarity. When writing in the past tense, it’s important to keep all verbs in the past tense as well. If you switch tenses in the middle of a sentence or paragraph, it can be confusing for readers. For example:

Incorrect: Sarah ran to the store and buys some milk.

Correct: Sarah ran to the store and bought some milk.

Proper Use of Adjectives and Adverbs

Adjectives and adverbs are often used incorrectly in content writing. Adjectives modify nouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Mistakes often occur when writers use an adjective instead of an adverb or vice versa. For example:

Incorrect: She spoke really loud.

Correct: She spoke really loudly.

Correct: She spoke very loudly.


Proper word usage agreement is essential to producing clear, concise content that your readers will appreciate. By following these simple rules, you can ensure that your writing is flawless and free from errors. Remember to always double-check your work and take the time to read it over carefully before publishing it. With practice and attention to detail, you can become a master of word usage agreement in no time.