Agreement of Subject and Verb
1. A verb agrees in number with its subject (a noun or pronoun). A singular subject must be matched with a singular verb, a plural subject with a plural verb. Subject-verb agreement errors occur frequently in medical dictation, and it is the medical transcriptionist's responsibility to correct such errors.
2. The first steps in assuring subject-verb agreement are to analyze the sentence, identify the subject of the sentence, and decide if the subject is singular or plural. Then check to see if the verb agrees with the subject in number.
If dictated: The edema in both legs have not yet responded to diuretics.
Transcribe: The edema in both legs has not yet responded to diuretics.
Note: The word legs is part of the prepositional phrase intervening between the subject (edema) and the verb.
3. When a compound subject joined by or is present, make the verb agree in number with the closest noun.
No definite adenopathy or masses were felt.
No definite masses or adenopathy was felt.
4. If a compound subject is joined by and, a plural verb is used even if the word closest to the verb is singular.
The patient's gait and station were normal.
Hemoglobin and hematocrit were 14 and 40, respectively.