Pronoun and AntecedentA pronoun is a substitute for a noun. It refers to a person place or thing, feeling or quality but does not refer to it by name.
Example: Tammy wrote a speech for the function. It was well written.
An antecedent is a phrase or clause to which the person refers, understood by the context.
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in 3 ways.
• Person: refers to the quality of being.
• Number: is the quality that is distinguished between the singular and the plural.
• Gender: is the quality that distinguishes the entity as masculine or feminine.
Pronoun Antecedent Error-examples
1. If a person wants to achieve something in life you have to work hard.
Here the antecedent and pronoun agree in number but not in person.
The correct sentence is:
• If a man wants to achieve something in life he must work hard.
2. Each one has their own cupboard.
Each one is singular and should have a singular pronoun.
The correct sentence is:
• Each one has his or her own cupboard
Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Rules
There are nine pronoun antecedent agreement rules. These rules are related to the rules found in subject-verb agreement.
1. A phrase or clause between the subject and verb does not change the number of the antecedent
Example: The bottle of coke sits on its tray.
2. Singular indefinite pronoun antecedent takes singular pronoun referents.
• Each of the boys does his work well in the factory.
Plural indefinite pronouns require plural referents.
• Both are good at their work.
Some indefinite pronouns that are modified by prepositional phrase may be either singular or plural.
• Most of the rice fell out of its container.
When the object of preposition is countable, use a plural.
• Some of the nuts fell out of their bag.
3. When compound subjects are joined they always take a plural referent.
• Jane and Mary made their presentation.
4. With compound subjects joined by or/nor the referent pronoun agrees with the antecedent closer to the pronoun.
• Neither the boy nor the girl finished their dinner.
5. Collective pronouns may be singular or plural depending on meaning.
• The team won its match.
If team members act as individuals then the referent is plural.
• The team members fought among themselves.
6. Titles of single entities (books, organization, countries etc.)take a single referent.
• The United Nations made its policies clear.
7. The plural form of subject with a singular meaning takes a singular referent.
• The measles spread after a week.
8. Every or many before a noun or a series of nouns require a singular referent.
• Many a man has lost his life in war.
9. The number of vs A number of before a subject.
• A number of people are donating clothes.
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