Presentation on theme: "Pasco-Hernando Community College Tutorial Series."— Presentation transcript:
Pasco-Hernando Community College Tutorial Series
Pronouns Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns: he instead of John or they instead of John and Joan. We use pronouns instead of repeating the noun again: John took his keys from the table, not John took Johns keys from the table.
Pronouns Pronouns must always agree with the noun or pronoun they are referring to. Pronouns must agree in gender (feminine or masculine: she refers back to woman; he refers back to man; it refers back to a neutral noun. number (singular or plural: it refers back to one thing; they refers back to more than one), and person (me refers back to I; you refers back to you)
Pronouns This is called pronoun-antecedent agreement. Ante- means before; therefore, the word antecedent simply means that which comes before. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent, the noun or pronoun that comes before it and to which it is referring.
Identifying the Antecedent Whenever we use a pronoun, we should determine the noun to which it is referring. John lost his cell phone. In this example, his is referring back to the John. Notice how the pronoun his agrees with the gender (masculine), the number (singular), and person (third person) of the antecedent John.
Identifying the Antecedent The children went back to their seats. The word their refers to children. The pronouns gender (neutral), number (plural), and person (third person) all agree with the antecedent children. In English, there is no masculine plural or feminine plural of pronouns. Neutral pronouns are used for plurals.
Shifts in Gender Gender refers to masculine or feminine. His must refer back to a masculine noun such as man and father. Hers must refer back to a feminine noun such as woman or mother. What if the gender of the noun is not known? Incorrect: No American citizen should lose their right to vote. Citizen is singular, but the pronoun their is plural. It is not acceptable to use their as a singular when you dont know the gender. Both men and women can vote in the United States.
Shifts in Gender Incorrect: No American citizen should lose his right to vote. While some accept the use of the male singular pronoun (he, him, his) as a generic singular, it is always correct to use his or her to avoid sexist language. Corrected: No American citizen should lose his or her right to vote. This problem can be avoided altogether if you simply change the antecedent to a plural. Corrected: No American citizens should lose their right to vote.
Shifts in Number Incorrect: Every man should wear a tie to an interview to look their best. Man is a singular noun; their is a plural pronoun. They do not agree. Change the pronoun to agree with its antecedent. Corrected: Every man should wear a tie to an interview to look his best.
Shifts in Number It is important to determine whether the antecedent pronoun is singular or plural. Incorrect: Everyone brought their lunch and ate in the employee break room. Corrected: Everyone brought his or her lunch and ate in the employee break room. Corrected: All the employees brought their lunch and ate in the employee break room.
Shifts in Number There are some situations where the number is not clear. Following is a chart to remember. Always Singular : one either anybody each neither anyone anything everyone much everything neither nobody no one nothing somebody. Always Plural: both many two (or more) most Depends on Noun: some few several lots none all
Shifts in Number Sometimes proper agreement in number sounds funny since everyday speech does not use agreement: Everyday speech: Everyone brought their books. Proper agreement: Everyone brought his or her book. Proper agreement: All the students brought their books.
Shifts in Person Person refers to the voice or position the writer is taking: First person: I, we, me, my, us, our, ours Second person: you, yours Third person: he, she, it, his, hers, theirs, they, them
Shifts in Person Incorrect: As soon as a student finishes an on-line quiz, the computer shows your score. Here, the pronoun your (second person) is referring back to the noun student which is in the third person (he, she, or it). Correct this by either changing the antecedent or its pronoun. Corrected: As soon as you finish an on-line quiz, the computer shows your score.
Problems with Pronoun Reference While in most cases we know how or what we are referring to, there are some cases where confusion and errors can occur. Unclear: Jenny couldnt park her car in the garage because it was broken.
Problems with Pronoun Reference In this case, we are not sure what the word it is referring to. Was her car broken or was the garage broken? Correct this error by replacing the unclear pronoun with a noun. Corrected: Jenny couldnt park her car in the garage because her car was broken.
Problems with Pronoun Reference Here are more examples of vague pronoun reference: Janice took the watch and necklace and sold it. The reader does not know whether it refers to the watch or the necklace. Corrected: Janice took the watch and necklace and sold them. Janice took the watch and necklace and sold the watch. Janice took the watch and necklace and sold the necklace.
Problems with Pronoun Reference Parents should watch their children before they get into trouble. The reader doesnt know whether they refers to the parents or the children. Corrected: Parents should watch their children before the children get into trouble. Parents should watch their children before the parents get into trouble. See how each of these sentences clearly expresses a thought.