making your subjects agree

One of the grammar issues that keeps copy editors in business is subject-verb agreement. When a subject noun is plural, it often takes a different form of a verb than it does when it is singular. In this product description on the Hard Candy website, what it should say is, “The long-lasting, chip-resistant polish ensures flawless results,” because the subject, polish, is singular. (In this case, they’re talking about a line of nail polish.) If the sentence was written in the plural, the correct form would be, “These long-lasting, chip-resistant polishes ensure flawless results.” An easy shortcut is to remember that typically, if your subject is singular, the verb is plural, and vice versa.

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2 responses to “making your subjects agree

  1. Or maybe, Katie, the mistake is one of capitalization. If they meant to refer to the “long-lasting, chip-resistant Polish,” then subject-verb agreement is not the problem. The problem then becomes explaining how people from Poland are able to ensure flawless results, or how, exactly, Poles are chip-resistant. Still, one should consider all possibilities.

  2. Actually, I think “chip-resistant” describes the Polish people pretty well.

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