Agreement for ESL: A Beginner`s Guide

Writing in English can be a challenge for anyone, but it`s especially challenging for those who are learning the language as a second language. One of the most important concepts in writing is agreement, which refers to the way that various parts of a sentence or phrase match in terms of tense, number, gender, and person. For ESL writers, understanding agreement is crucial for creating clear, effective, and grammatically correct sentences.

Here are some key tips for mastering agreement as an ESL writer:

1. Understand subject-verb agreement

Subject-verb agreement is the most basic type of agreement in English. It refers to the way that the subject of a sentence (the person or thing doing the action) and the verb of the sentence (the action itself) must match in terms of number and tense. For example, if the subject is singular, the verb must be singular as well: “He walks to the store.” If the subject is plural, the verb must be plural: “They walk to the store.” This rule applies to all tenses, so it`s important to be able to identify the tense of a verb in order to match it correctly with the subject.

2. Use appropriate pronouns

Pronouns are words that stand in for nouns. Like verbs, they must match their antecedent (the noun they are replacing) in terms of number, gender, and person. For example, if the antecedent is singular and masculine, the pronoun must be singular and masculine as well: “The boy threw his ball.” If the antecedent is plural and feminine, the pronoun must be plural and feminine: “The girls threw their balls.” For ESL writers, it can be helpful to memorize the different types of pronouns and their corresponding forms, as well as to practice identifying antecedents in sentences.

3. Pay attention to adjectives and articles

Adjectives and articles are words that modify or describe nouns. They must also match the noun in terms of number and gender. For example, if the noun is singular and feminine, the adjective must be singular and feminine as well: “The beautiful girl smiled.” If the noun is plural and masculine, the article must be plural and masculine: “The boys played in the park.” Similarly, if the noun is singular and masculine but begins with a vowel sound, the article must be “an” instead of “a”: “An umbrella kept him dry in the rain.”

4. Be consistent

Consistency is key in agreement. If you start a sentence in one tense or with one type of agreement, be sure to continue it in the same way throughout. For example, if you begin a sentence with a singular subject, make sure to use a singular verb, pronoun, and adjective as well. Similarly, if you use a plural subject, make sure to use plural forms throughout. Consistency helps to create a cohesive and understandable sentence.

In conclusion, agreement is an essential concept for ESL writers to understand in order to create clear, effective, and grammatically correct sentences. By mastering subject-verb agreement, using appropriate pronouns, paying attention to adjectives and articles, and being consistent, ESL writers can improve their writing skills and communicate more effectively in English. With practice and dedication, anyone can become a skilled writer in any language.