Notional agreement, also known as semantic agreement, is a linguistic concept that refers to the agreement between a subject and a verb based on their semantic meaning rather than their grammatical form. In simpler terms, notional agreement means that the agreement between a subject and a verb is determined by the meaning of the sentence rather than the grammar rules.
This concept is particularly important in English because it is often used to make sentences sound more natural and to improve the flow of speech or writing. In many cases, notional agreement allows us to avoid awkward or incorrect sentence constructions and to express ourselves more effectively.
One of the most common examples of notional agreement is when the subject of a sentence is a collective noun, such as “team” or “group”. In conventional grammar rules, these nouns are treated as singular, and the verb is often conjugated accordingly. However, in spoken and written English, we often use plural verbs to reflect the fact that the subject is a group of individuals, each with their own actions and thoughts.
For example, consider the sentence “The team is going to the playoffs.” In this sentence, the subject “team” is singular, and the verb “is” is also singular. However, if we wanted to emphasize the individual members of the team and their actions, we could use plural verbs instead: “The team are getting ready for the playoffs.”
Notional agreement is also important when dealing with grammatical exceptions and irregular verbs. For example, the verbs “have” and “be” are irregular, and their agreement with the subject can sometimes cause confusion. In most cases, however, notional agreement can help us determine the correct form of the verb based on the meaning of the sentence.
Another important aspect of notional agreement is its role in search engine optimization (SEO). When writing content for websites or blogs, it is important to use natural language that reflects the way people talk and search for information online. By using notional agreement, we can create content that sounds more natural and is more likely to be picked up by search engines.
In conclusion, notional agreement is an important concept in English grammar and linguistics. By understanding the principles of notional agreement, we can write and speak more effectively, and create content that is more natural and accessible to readers and search engines alike.