Unnumbered Agreement: Definition, Importance, and Examples

Unnumbered agreement is a grammatical term that refers to an agreement between two or more nouns or pronouns that do not have a numerical value attached to them. In other words, unnumbered agreement occurs when nouns or pronouns agree with each other in gender, case, and number, but without being explicitly numbered.

Importance of Unnumbered Agreement

Unnumbered agreement is a vital aspect of written and spoken communication because it helps to create coherence and clarity in language. It also enhances the professionalism of written content, making it more accessible and user-friendly. Properly executed unnumbered agreement ensures that the plural forms of nouns or pronouns do not create confusion or ambiguity when referring to multiple entities.

Examples of Unnumbered Agreement

One of the most common examples of unnumbered agreement is the use of the singular “they” to refer to a person whose gender is unknown or non-binary. For instance, consider the following sentence:

“Someone left their book on the table.”

In this case, the pronoun “their” agrees with the gender-neutral noun “someone,” which is unnumbered. Another example of unnumbered agreement is the use of the plural pronoun “they” to refer to a group of people, even if the group is not explicitly numbered. For example:

“The committee announced that they had reached a consensus.”

In this sentence, the pronoun “they” agrees with the unnumbered noun “committee.”

In conclusion, unnumbered agreement is a crucial aspect of written and spoken language that helps to create coherence, clarity, and professionalism in communication. It is essential to ensure that nouns and pronouns agree with each other in gender, case, and number, especially when referring to multiple entities. Proper execution of unnumbered agreement can enhance the quality of written content and make it more accessible to a broad audience.