Absolute Agreement vs Consistency: Striking a Balance in Writing
As a writer, you may have come across words or phrases that seem to be interchangeable, but choosing the right one is crucial to convey the intended meaning. The two concepts that guide this choice are absolute agreement and consistency. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between them and how to strike a balance in writing.
Absolute agreement means that a subject and verb must agree in number. For example, “The cat chases the mouse” is correct, while “The cat chase the mouse” is incorrect because “cat” is singular and “chase” is plural. Absolute agreement applies to all types of subjects, including pronouns, compound subjects, and collective nouns.
Consistency, on the other hand, means that the same language is used throughout the text to refer to the same thing. For instance, if you’re writing an article about a new product, you should use the same name throughout the entire piece, instead of using both the product name and its acronym interchangeably.
Striking a Balance
While both absolute agreement and consistency are important in writing, there are times when following one can lead to conflicts with the other. For instance, when writing about a group of people, you can either use singular or plural verbs depending on the context.
For example, “The team was excited about their win” uses a singular verb “was” to agree with “team,” but uses a plural pronoun “their” to refer to the individuals in the team. This can be confusing for the reader, and it’s preferable to maintain consistency by using either singular or plural throughout.
In cases like this, it’s essential to strike a balance between absolute agreement and consistency by using context to determine the appropriate choice. You can also use tools like grammar checkers to ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and consistent.
In summary, absolute agreement and consistency are both important concepts in writing, but they should be applied judiciously to ensure that the text is clear and coherent. Striking a balance between them is crucial, especially in cases where following one can lead to conflicts with the other. By using context and tools like grammar checkers, you can ensure that your writing is both grammatically correct and consistent.