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As a copy editor, it`s crucial to ensure that sentences are grammatically correct and stick to a coherent structure. One common mistake that writers make is a shift in agreement, which can cause confusion and distract readers from the message conveyed.

A shift in agreement occurs when there is a sudden change in tense, person, or number within a sentence or paragraph. For instance, a sentence may start in the present tense, but end in the past tense. Alternatively, a sentence may begin in the first person, but later shift to the third person.

The good news is that there are ways to correct this shift in agreement, and make your writing more accurate and engaging. Here are some tips to help you tackle this challenging issue:

1. Identify the shift

The first step in correcting a shift in agreement is to identify it. Read through your sentences carefully and look out for any sudden changes in tense, person, or number. Highlight the parts of the sentence that do not agree and make a note of them.

2. Determine the correct agreement

Once you have identified the shift, the next step is to determine the correct agreement. Ask yourself whether the sentence should be in the past or present tense, first or third person, singular or plural. Think about the context and meaning of the sentence and make a decision on the appropriate agreement.

3. Rewrite the sentence

Now that you know what the correct agreement should be, you need to rewrite the sentence. Make sure that all parts of the sentence agree and that there are no sudden shifts. Use transitional words and phrases to make the sentence flow smoothly and convey your message effectively.

As an example, let`s take a sentence with a shift in agreement: “I love cats, but he prefers dogs because they`re more loyal.” In this sentence, there is a shift from first person (I) to third person (he), which can be confusing for the reader.

To correct this shift in agreement, you can rewrite the sentence as follows: “I love cats, but my friend prefers dogs because he thinks they`re more loyal.” By using the first person consistently and introducing the friend in the third person, there is no shift in agreement and the sentence flows smoothly.

In conclusion, a shift in agreement can be a challenging issue for writers, but it can be corrected by identifying the shift, determining the correct agreement, and rewriting the sentence. By following these simple tips, you can improve the accuracy and effectiveness of your writing, and engage your readers more effectively.