Mathematics Subject Verb Agreement

Sep 13th, 2023 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Mathematics Subject-Verb Agreement: A Guide for Accurate Writing

As a copy editor, one of the most common errors I come across is incorrect subject-verb agreement in mathematical writing. Mathematics is a highly precise field, and precision is paramount in conveying information accurately. Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of precision in writing, as it ensures that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number.

The basic rule of subject-verb agreement is that a singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb. However, when it comes to mathematics, this rule can become more complex, as mathematical expressions can include multiple variables and clauses that can affect the agreement between the subject and verb.

Here are some key guidelines to follow for correct subject-verb agreement in mathematical writing:

1. Compound Subjects

When a sentence has a compound subject, meaning two or more subjects joined by “and,” the verb must be plural. For example, “The area and perimeter of the rectangle are calculated by multiplying the length and width.”

2. Parenthetical Phrases

When a parenthetical phrase, such as “as well as,” “including,” or “in addition to,” is used to describe the subject, it does not affect the verb`s agreement. For example, “The polynomial, as well as its derivative, are used in the calculation.”

3. Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases, such as “of,” “in,” or “by,” can sometimes make it difficult to determine the subject of a sentence. In such cases, it is important to identify the noun or pronoun that directly precedes the verb. For example, “The sum of the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees.”

4. Quantifiers and Expressions of Quantity

Quantifiers, such as “each,” “every,” “either,” and “neither,” are always singular and take a singular verb. Expressions of quantity, such as “a number of” or “a majority of,” take a plural verb if the noun that follows is plural. For example, “Each of the angles in an equilateral triangle is 60 degrees,” and “A majority of students were able to solve the equation.”

5. Mathematical Expressions

In mathematical expressions, the subject-verb agreement is determined by the noun or pronoun closest to the verb. For example, “Two-thirds of the population is under the age of 35,” and “The number of students passing the test is increasing.”

In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is crucial for accurate and precise mathematical writing. By following these guidelines, we can ensure that the subject and verb in our sentences agree in number and convey information accurately. As a copy editor, it is essential to pay attention to subject-verb agreement and correct any errors to enhance clarity and readability in mathematical writing.

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