Proximity agreement, also known as agreement in proximity, is a grammatical concept that refers to the agreement between a subject and its closest verb or noun. This concept is crucial to understand for effective communication and clear writing.
Here is an example of proximity agreement:
Incorrect: The group of dancers, along with their choreographer, is preparing for the performance.
Correct: The group of dancers, along with their choreographer, are preparing for the performance.
In the incorrect sentence, the verb “is” agrees with “group,” which is singular, but not with “dancers,” which is plural. The correct sentence uses the closest noun “dancers” to determine the correct verb agreement– “are.”
Incorrect: The book, along with the pens and pencils, was on the table.
Correct: The book, along with the pens and pencils, were on the table.
Here, the subject “book” is singular, and the noun closest to the verb is “pens and pencils,” which is plural. Therefore, we need to use the plural verb “were” instead of “was.”
Proximity agreement can also occur with pronouns, as in the following example:
Incorrect: Each of the boys should do their own homework.
Correct: Each of the boys should do his own homework.
In this case, “each” is singular, so the pronoun “his” is used to match with the closest noun “boys,” which is also singular.
In conclusion, proximity agreement requires writers to pay attention to the closest noun or pronoun to the verb to ensure grammatical agreement. Mastering this concept will enhance your writing abilities and ensure that your communication is clear and effective.