Even if pronouns are one of the basic things that we have learned in grammar, there are still some concepts that we still have a difficulty in understanding. One of it is the Pronoun-Antecedent agreement. With the help of this article and the examples cited, you will be able to understand Pronoun-Antecedent agreements better.
Before we dive into the main topic of this article, let us first go back to basic and discuss pronouns. You may also see Balanced Sentences — Usage and Examples.
A pronoun is defined as a word that is used to substitute or to stand or to take the place of a noun. You may also see APA Outline Examples in PDF.
Below are the nine types of pronouns as well as the pronouns that consist each category:
Here are a few important rules for using pronouns, take note that the pronouns used in the sentence are in bold:
An antecedent is defined as a noun or pronoun to which another noun or pronoun is referring to and it usually goes before the pronoun.
The word antecedent is derived from Latin, which means “to go before” and its name is also derived from the idea that a pronoun refers to something that has been previously mentioned in the sentence. Keep in mind that an antecedent does not always come before its pronoun despite the term. You may also see Topic Sentences – Definition and Examples.
Hence, if you have a pronoun used in the sentence, it is already understood that you should include an antecedent.
Now that you have already understood pronouns and antecedents, let us now discuss what pronoun-antecedent is all about:
The pronoun-antecedent agreement is an agreement between the number, which refers to either singular or plural, and person, which refers to first, second, or third person, with its antecedent.
A pronoun and its antecedent must agree and it both should be singular or both should be plural.
Singular: Mr. Sy finished checking his students’ test papers.
Plural: The teachers finished checking their students’ test papers.
Singular: The doctor scanned the results of his patient’s physical examination.
Plural: The doctors examined the results of their patients’ physical examinations.
Singular: The child cried his heart out after seeing his parents leave.
Plural: The children cried their hearts out after seeing their parents leave.
There are some indefinite pronouns that have a plural meaning. However, it should be treated as grammatically singular.
Incorrect sentence: Everyone in the office eats their lunch inside the pantry.
Correct singular: Everyone in the office eats his or her lunch inside the pantry.
Correct plural: All of the people in the office eats their lunch inside the pantry.
Incorrect sentence: Somebody has left their bag in the office.
Correct singular: Someone has left his or her bag in the office.
Incorrect sentence: Anyone who leaves their things behind in the office are fined.
Correct singular: Anyone who leaves his or her things behind in the office is fined.
You have to treat generic nouns as singular despite its plural meaning and be careful of using a or any, every, or each.
Incorrect: Every girl in the cheering squad must at least try jumping from the highest platform if they want to be good at it.
Incorrect: A barista must work well if they want become the manager of the cafe.
Incorrect: Each student must provide their parent’s consent if they want to join the field trip.
Treat collective nouns as singular unless the meaning is clearly plural.
Here are some collective nouns you can make use in your sentences:
Singular: The group fulfilled its promise
Plural: The group wrote their promises on the wall.
When compound antecedents are connected by and, treat it as plural.
Incorrect: Jack and Jill went up the hill where he or she can fetch a pail of water.
Correct: Jack and Jill went up the hill where the can fetch a pail of water.
When a compound antecedent is connected by or or nor or by either…or or neither…nor, make sure that you make the pronoun agree with the nearer antecedent.
Here’s an example of an incorrect sentence:
1. Replace the plural pronoun with he or she, or it (or his or her or its)
2. Make the antecedent plural.
3. Rewrite the sentence so that there will be no problem of agreement.
There are a lot of people who would get confused with who’s because it looks and sounds like a possessive pronoun but actually is not but a contraction of who is. There are also people who would get confused with whose and who’s. Whose is the possessive form of both who and which and it is like the possessive form of who. You may also see Argumentative Essay Examples – PDF.
Here are some sentence examples that would clarify the difference between the two:
There are also a lot of people who would get confused with he’s and his but he’s is actually a contraction for he is or he has.
Here are some sentences examples that would clarify between the two:
He’s or She’s
There are some sentences that do not mention the sex of the person. This is when finding a pronoun that would agree with its antecedent gets difficult.
This sentence show gender bias: A student must hand in his parent’s waiver before the day of the field trip.
It shows gender bias because a student can be a girl or a boy.
Here are the possible solutions:
After writing a sentence, you might want to check whether the pronouns you used in your sentence agree with their antecedents in both number and person. Here are some steps you could do in checking: