Verb agreement with relative pronouns can be a tricky subject for many writers. In order to properly construct a sentence with a relative pronoun, it is important to understand how the verb should agree with the subject.
Relative pronouns, such as “who,” “whom,” “which,” “that,” and “whose,” are used to connect two clauses in a sentence and indicate a relationship between the two. For example, “The woman who won the race is my sister.”
The verb in the relative clause (the clause following the relative pronoun) should agree with the subject in the main clause (the clause preceding the relative pronoun). In the example above, the subject in the main clause is “woman,” which is a singular noun. Therefore, the verb in the relative clause, “won,” is also singular to match the subject.
However, if the subject in the main clause is plural, the verb in the relative clause should also be plural. For example, “The women who won the race are my sisters.”
It is also important to note that the relative pronoun can sometimes be the subject of the relative clause. In these cases, the verb in the relative clause should agree with the relative pronoun. For example, “The woman who is running the race is my sister.” In this sentence, “who” is the subject of the relative clause, and “is” is singular to match the singular pronoun.
Another potential issue with verb agreement and relative pronouns is when the antecedent (the noun that the pronoun refers to) is unclear or ambiguous. In these cases, it is important to make sure the verb agrees with the intended antecedent. For example, “John and his son, who is a doctor, went to the hospital.” In this sentence, “who” could potentially refer to either John or his son. To avoid confusion, the verb “went” should agree with the intended antecedent, which is “John and his son.”
In summary, when using relative pronouns, proper verb agreement is essential to ensure clear and effective communication. Take care to make sure the verb agrees with the appropriate subject and antecedent, and double-check for any potential ambiguities. By following these guidelines, writers can construct well-crafted sentences with accurate verb agreement and effective use of relative pronouns.