Subject Agreement: Understanding the Legal Definition
Subject agreement is a crucial concept in legal writing that refers to the matching of the subject of a sentence with the verb that follows it. In simple terms, it means that the verb should agree with the subject in terms of number and person. Failure to observe subject-verb agreement can lead to grammatical errors, miscommunications, and even legal disputes.
In legal writing, subject-verb agreement is important because it helps to convey meaning accurately and clearly. Lawyers and legal professionals need to be able to communicate complex legal concepts in a way that is easy to understand for their clients, judges, and other parties involved. Failing to observe subject-verb agreement can create confusion and make it difficult to understand the intended meaning of a sentence or clause.
One common example of subject-verb agreement in legal writing is in defining a contract. A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that sets out the terms and conditions of a given transaction or relationship. When drafting a contract, it is important to ensure that the subject of the sentence (the parties to the contract) agree with the verb (the actions or obligations that they undertake).
For example, consider the following sentence: “Company A and Company B agree to pay their respective employees a bonus every year.” In this sentence, the subject (Company A and Company B) is plural, so the verb “agree” must also be plural. If the sentence were written as “Company A and Company B agrees to pay their respective employees a bonus every year,” it would be grammatically incorrect, and could potentially create confusion regarding the parties` obligations under the contract.
Another example of subject-verb agreement in legal writing is in defining a criminal offense. Criminal statutes set out the elements of a given offense, and it is important to ensure that the subject (the defendant) agrees with the verb (the action that constitutes the offense).
For example, consider the following sentence: “It is a crime for a person to intentionally or knowingly cause bodily harm to another.” In this sentence, the subject (a person) is singular, so the verb “cause” must also be singular. If the sentence were written as “It is a crime for persons to intentionally or knowingly causes bodily harm to another,” it would be grammatically incorrect and could potentially create confusion regarding the scope of the offense.
In conclusion, subject agreement is a crucial concept in legal writing that helps to ensure accuracy, clarity, and effective communication of legal concepts. Lawyers and legal professionals must be careful to observe subject-verb agreement when defining contracts, defining criminal offenses, and in all other aspects of legal writing. By doing so, they can avoid grammatical errors, miscommunications, and potential legal disputes.