What is agreement? Agreement is when the number of the subject agrees with the number of the verb.
People who read sales proposals or resumes can be very picky: they have that luxury. You want the job, and so do hundreds of other people. Resume screeners develop criteria to “disqualify” some of the many potential employees/business partners. It’s easy to knock out a candidate for lack of correctness (“After all, if s/he has an error in the cover letter, what worse mistakes will be made on the job?”).
A friend of mine provides professional services to irrigate golf courses. During a particularly busy year, he couldn’t keep up with the amount of work he had, so he put one of his jobs out to bid. Only two proposals came in—one for $1.6 million and one for $1.8 million. Much to the surprise of everyone, he chose the $1.8 million dollar bid! Why? He discovered writing errors on the lower-priced submission, and didn’t want to take the risk of working with anyone who was that careless. The lesson here is to make sure your written representation is correct and excellent. It’s a buyer’s market. Have the goods that people can’t pass up!
Loretta works here. (Singular)
Loretta’s friends work here. (Plural)
Either Loretta or Jim writes the weekly report.
The workers are very dedicated. Each does her/his job.
For some indefinite pronouns, imagine adding “single” to reinforce the pronoun’s need for a singular verb, as in: every (single) one, some (single) body, any (single) thing, and no (single) one.
Several were eager to go further.
And now, a tricky test: “Someone left (her/his or their) laptop in the Board Room.” What would you choose as the correct answer?
It’s easy to make an error with this. Most people are tempted to go with “their” (it sounds nonsexist to say it that way, but it’s grammatically incorrect). “Someone” (literally, “some single one”) is not a “they.” Someone is singular, and always needs to be referred to with other singular words, like “s/he.” A great way to get around this problem is to avoid the pronoun use altogether: “Someone left a laptop in the Board Room.” Of course, the best way to avoid problems is to know what’s correct and to use it correctly!
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