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Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement A pronoun must agree in number (either singular or plural) with its antecedent (what it refers to in the text). Indefinite Pronouns -- Indefinite Pronouns are always singular. To help you remember this rule, look at the spelling of indefinite pronouns: there is a singular word within. Anyone Anybody Everyone Everybody Someone Somebody No one Nobody Either and neither are also singular even if these words seem to refer to two things.
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Examples: 1. Nobody is going to work for his boss for free. 2. Isn’t there someone among you who wants to volunteer his time? 3. Neither of the students has studied for her final exam. 4. Anyone can make up stories to impress her teachers. Incorrect: Everyone should keep their passports in a secure place. * Here the plural pronoun “their” does not agree with the singular indefinite pronoun “everyone.”
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Gender Problems – Sometimes pronoun-antecedent agreement can create an issue with gender. Consider the following sentence: “A club member must finish his project before the Friday deadline.” This sentence may offend the female members of the club. To avoid this issue, you can make the antecedent plural: “All club members must finish their project before the Friday deadline.” Or use the following construction: “A club member must finish his or her project before the Friday deadline.”
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Gender Problems – Sometimes pronoun-antecedent agreement can create an issue with gender. Of course, you would not want to use “his” and “her” too often throughout the text, as this may become difficult to read. In today’s society, it is widely accepted to use the following construction: “Somebody forgot their book in the class.” While it is strictly not grammatically correct, the idea is that people understand what is written and are not missing the meaning within the sentence. For the purposes of this composition class, I want students to use correct grammar when constructing sentences, so I know that they understand the rules.
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Compounding a Pronoun – Be careful when you compound a pronoun with another word/phrase that you do not change the pronoun’s form. While the use of certain pronouns within a compound structure may make the sentence sound strange, you want to make sure that agreement is maintained. Incorrect – The bag of candy is for Kathy and I. (Remove “Kathy” from the sentence and you wouldn’t say “The bag of candy is for I,” but you would say “The bag of candy is for me”). Correct – The bag of candy is for Kathy and me.
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Compounding a Pronoun While courtesy requires that you put “someone” in front of “I” or “me” in a sentence, try reversing it to see how it sounds. The bag of candy is for I and Kathy. (This sentence doesn’t sound correct – and it isn’t.) The bag of candy is for me and Kathy. (This sentence is not “courteous” but it is grammatically correct.) Consider these examples: John is taller than I. (John is taller than I am tall.) John is taller than me. (John is taller than he is me.) Dad gives me more money than her. (Dad gives me more money than Dad gives her.) Dad gives me more money than she. (Dad gives me more money than she gives me.)
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Who/Whom – There are various forms of the pronoun who (who, whoever, whom, whomever, and whose). Be sure to know what the pronoun is referring to in order to determine whether it is singular or plural. The student who has a grade average over 95 will be exempt from his final exam. The students who have a grade average over 95 will be exempt from their final exam.
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Who/Whom – Who is used as a subject and whom is used as an object. Compare who to the forms he/she/they; compare whom to the forms him/her/them. Who do you think will be elected? (Do you think he will be elected?) Whom should we invite to the party? (Should we invite him to the party?) Share the candy with whomever you please. (Share the candy with him.) Give the coupon to whoever seems to need it most. (He seems to need it most.) * Here the clause "whoever seems to need it most" is the object of the preposition “to.” Whoever gets here first chooses the best seat in the room (He gets here first... )
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Who/Whom – Do not confuse whose with who's. The latter looks like a possessive but is really the contraction for who is. Similar to how we should avoid confusing his with he's (the contraction for he is or he has), we should avoid confusing whose with who's. Who's that driving away so quickly? Whose laptop computer is this? I want to know whose textbook this is on the floor.
Pronoun - Antecedent Agreement Here are some websites dedicated to grammar and pronoun usage. http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/linghebr/austheir.html http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/pronouns1.htm http://www.aetherlumina.com/gnp/index.html
Next Lesson – Subject-Verb Agreement To view the next lesson, follow the link below: http://www.geocox.com/subverb.html You can find all the course lessons at my website: http://www.geocox.com/lessons.html
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