Properties of Uncertain Agreement

Properties of Uncertain Agreement

Uncertain agreement is a phenomenon that occurs when two or more nouns or pronouns within a sentence do not agree in number or gender. This can be a common mistake that writers make when trying to communicate their ideas clearly. However, it is important to understand the properties of uncertain agreement in order to avoid such errors.

Number Agreement

One of the most prevalent forms of uncertain agreement is number agreement. This occurs when a noun and its determining pronoun do not agree in number. For example, “The team played their best game last night” is incorrect, as “team” is a singular noun and should be matched with a singular pronoun such as “its”, not “their.” Another example could be “The employees have their own individual parking pass” where “employees” is plural, but “pass” is singular. In this case, “passes” should be used instead of “pass.”

Gender Agreement

Uncertain agreement can also occur with gender agreement. This happens when a pronoun does not agree with the gender of the noun it refers to. For example, it is incorrect to say “The doctor told me she will be available for an appointment tomorrow” if “doctor” is male. The correct sentence would be “The doctor told me he will be available for an appointment tomorrow.”

Agreement with Compound Nouns

Compound nouns, which are created when two or more words are combined and form one noun, can also cause uncertain agreement. Uncertain agreement occurs when the noun that follows the compound noun is not in agreement with the whole. For example, “The mother and daughter-in-law relationship is interesting” is incorrect, as the subject is two individuals, so “are” should be used instead of “is.”


Uncertain agreement is a common mistake in writing, but it can be avoided by understanding the properties of number and gender agreement, as well as agreement with compound nouns. By ensuring agreement within a sentence, you can communicate your ideas clearly and effectively to your audience. As a professional, it’s important to be vigilant for these types of errors to ensure that the content published online is of high quality and ranks well in the search engines.

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