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Indefinite Pronoun and Verb Agreement

As a copy editor, it’s important to pay attention to the grammatical agreement between indefinite pronouns and their corresponding verbs. This is because indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural, and the verb agreement changes accordingly.

Indefinite pronouns are words that don’t refer to a specific person, place or thing. Examples of singular indefinite pronouns include anyone, someone, nobody, everybody, each, and either. Examples of plural indefinite pronouns include both, several, few, and many.

When using singular indefinite pronouns, it’s important to use singular verb forms. For example, “Everyone loves pizza” uses the singular verb “loves” because “everyone” is a singular indefinite pronoun. Similarly, “Nobody wants to be alone” uses the singular verb “wants” because “nobody” is also a singular indefinite pronoun.

When using plural indefinite pronouns, it’s important to use plural verb forms. For example, “Many people enjoy hiking” uses “enjoy” because “many” is a plural indefinite pronoun. Similarly, “Several students are absent today” uses “are” because “several” is a plural indefinite pronoun.

It’s important to note that some indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural depending on how they are used in the sentence. For example, “some” can be singular or plural. In the sentence “Some dishes need to be washed,” “some” is plural and the verb “need” is also plural. In contrast, “Somebody needs to wash the dishes” uses “somebody,” which is a singular indefinite pronoun, so the verb “needs” is singular as well.

In conclusion, as a copy editor, it’s important to understand indefinite pronoun and verb agreement to ensure that your writing is clear, efficient, and grammatically correct. Remember to match singular indefinite pronouns with singular verbs and plural indefinite pronouns with plural verbs, and pay attention to the context of the sentence to determine whether a pronoun is singular or plural. Following these guidelines will help your writing stand out and be more effective in capturing the attention of your readers.