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Pronoun Antecedent Agreement


Pronoun and Antecedentpro_ant_1

A 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 pro_ant_3

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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