As a copy editor, it can be frustrating to come across lazy agreement in writing. Lazy agreement occurs when a writer uses a pronoun to refer to a noun that is not clearly established or when the pronoun and the noun do not agree in number or gender. This type of error can be detrimental to the clarity and credibility of your writing, particularly when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is all about creating content that is easy for search engines to understand and categorize. The more concise and comprehensible your writing, the more likely it is that search engines will rank your content higher in search results. Lazy agreement can muddy the waters of understanding and hurt your SEO efforts.
Consider the following example:
“The company announced that they would be expanding their product line.”
In this sentence, the pronoun “they” is used to refer to “the company,” but because “the company” is singular, the pronoun and noun do not agree in number. A better way to write this sentence would be:
“The company announced that it would be expanding its product line.”
Here, the pronoun “it” matches the singular noun “the company,” emphasizing clarity and precision in your writing.
Lazy agreement can also occur when a writer uses a pronoun to refer to a noun that has not yet been established. For instance:
“When the customer arrived, they were greeted by the sales representative.”
Here, “they” refers to “the customer,” but the noun “customer” has not yet been established in the sentence. To avoid confusion, it would be better to write:
“When the customer arrived, he or she was greeted by the sales representative.”
Or, if you prefer a more gender-neutral option:
“When the customer arrived, they were greeted by the sales representative, who provided assistance.”
This way, you have established the noun “customer” and avoided a lazy agreement error.
In summary, lazy agreement occurs when the pronoun and the noun do not match in number or gender, or when the noun has not yet been established. This type of error can hurt your SEO efforts by making your writing harder to understand. To avoid lazy agreement, always make sure that your pronouns match their corresponding nouns in number and gender, and establish your nouns before using pronouns to refer to them. By taking these simple steps, you can ensure that your writing is clear, concise, and optimized for search engines.