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Grammar for Grade 9 Episode VII Using Pronouns Correctly.

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1 Grammar for Grade 9 Episode VII Using Pronouns Correctly

2 Pronouns Have Case Pronouns can be classified in at least three cases: – Nominative case – Objective case – Possessive case (There are others, but you don’t need to worry about them.)

3 Nominative Case Nominative case pronouns (I, thou, he, she, it, we, you, they, who) function as subjects or as predicate nominatives. – They have finally won! – It is he whose dog is on the loose. – Who is coming to dinner?

4 Objective Case Objective case pronouns (me, thee, him, her, it, us, you, them, whom) function as direct objects, indirect objects, or the objects of prepositions. – The manager gave them the donation. – Shannon sent it to him on Valentine’s Day. – You gave the photographs to whom?

5 Hint: Who/Whom Who/whom confusion is a problem for a lot of students. Rather than asking yourself, “nominative or objective case?” there is a simpler trick to figuring out which to use. – If the sentence is a question, turn it into a statement. If it isn’t, skip this step. – Replace the who/whom with he or him. – If “he” is correct in the sentence, use who. They both end in vowels. – If “him” is correct in the sentence, use whom. Who/whom should I call? [make it a statement] I should call who/whom? [use he or him] I should call him. [use whom: Whom should I call?]

6 Hint: I and Me One common error is the “Bobby and me”/ “Bobby and I” error, where students aren’t sure whether to use “I” or “me”. The trick: take the other person out of the sentence, then use the one that is correct. Bobby and I/me went to the fair. – I went to the “Bobby and I went to the fair.” Joe bought tickets for Bobby and I/me. – Joe bought tickets for he bought them for Bobby and me. Be polite...always let the other person go first (it’s Bobby and me, never me and Bobby).

7 Possessive Case Possessive case pronouns (my, mine, thy, thine, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, your, yours, their, theirs, whose) replace possessive nouns. Possessive pronouns NEVER use apostrophes. – That is my guitar. – No, it isn’t! It’s hers. – I know it’s mine because its pegs are worn.

8 Hint: Its or It’s? Possessives never have apostrophes in them. If you can replace the its/it’s by “it is”, use the apostrophe: it’s means it is, and the apostrophe is showing that you removed an i. Its/it’s my birthday. [It is my birthday works; use it’s.] If you could replace the its/it’s by “my,” use its. There are scratches along its/it’s side. [There are scratches along my side works; use its.]

9 Pronouns After Than and As In an elliptical adverb clause, unnecessary words are left out. When you use a pronoun in these clauses, choose the case that you would use if the missing words had been left in. Kenny water-skis much better than I [do]. That loud music bothers your father as much as [it bothers] me.

10 Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Pronouns agree with their antecedents in number, gender and person. Pele’s extraordinary skill as a soccer player made him world famous. [Both Pele and him are singular, male, and third person.] My favourite teachers try to use some fun activities in their classes. [Teachers and there are both plural and third person. Plural pronouns are gender-neutral.]

11 Pronoun-Antecedent II If the gender of a singular antecedent could be either masculine or feminine, it is traditional to use a masculine pronoun. Other options are to use a gender neutral phrase, or try to rewrite the sentence to use a plural pronoun or no pronoun. A person should choose his friends carefully. [traditional] A person should choose his or her friends carefully. [gender- neutral phrase] People should choose their friends carefully. [plural pronoun] People should choose friends carefully. [no pronoun]

12 Pronoun Agreement Errors By FAR the most common pronoun-antecedent agreement error is when students use a plural pronoun with a singular antecedent: A person should choose their friends carefully. This is incorrect. There are at least four ways to fix it (see previous slide). PLEASE don’t do this. Also, avoid shifting person in the middle of a sentence: When people drive, you should be alert. [um?] When people drive, they should be alert. [ah!]

13 Clear Pronoun Reference Avoid using the pronouns this, that, which, or it unless the antecedent is clearly stated. He’s a great pitcher and this was obvious in the game last night. [vague] He’s a great pitcher, and his athletic talent was obvious in the game last night. [better!] While using this, that, which or it is common in speech, be very careful when using it in writing. Your reader may not understand you.

14 Clear Pronoun Reference II If a pronoun could refer to more than one antecedent, reword the sentence to make it clear. After the dogs barked at the neighbours all night, they slept late. [Who did? The dogs, or the neighbours?] The dogs slept late after they barked at the neighbours all night.

15 Clear Pronoun Reference III Do not use the pronouns “you” and “they” in an indefinite sense. In many places, you rest at midday. [indefinite] In many places, people rest at midday. [clear] This is the number-one pronoun error. If I read “you” in your writing (and it isn’t in quotation marks) I assume that I can replace it with “Mrs. Cousar,” because you are talking directly to me. This results in some odd “advice” from my students:

16 Error Examples “The theme of this story is that [Mrs. Cousar] should never take [her] life for granted, because [she] never knows what comes next.” Started out as, “The theme of this story is that you should never take your life for granted because you never know what comes next.” For your information, the author of that particular story died before I was born. “Everyone should take the time to vote, because if [Mrs. Cousar] doesn’t, then [she] isn’t using [her] right to influence the government.” “Nobody in love should be held responsible for their actions because [Mrs. Cousar] can’t think straight when [she’s] in love. NEVER USE ‘YOU’ IN AN INDEFINITE SENSE!

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