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Using Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Indefinite pronouns Compound antecedents Solving special agreement problems Collective nouns Plural forms Titles Relative pronouns Expressions of amount Review A Review B
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? You may have heard that it is rude to point, but that’s exactly what pronouns do. A pronoun “points” to a noun or another pronoun called its antecedent. Antecedent Pronoun Nicole was glad that she had brought her camera. When a pronoun and its antecedent do not agree, listeners and readers become lost.
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Number A pronoun should agree in both number and gender with its antecedent. A word that refers to one thing is singular. A word that refers to more than one is plural. Singular Plural lions lion noses nose they she
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Number Use singular pronouns to refer to singular antecedents. Singular antecedent Singular pronoun Break one egg and fry it. it. Singular Personal Pronouns I me my, mine you your, yours he, she, it him, her, it his, hers, its
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Number Use plural pronouns to refer to plural antecedents. Plural antecedent Plural pronoun Cut two slices and toast them. slices and toastthem. Plural Personal Pronouns we us our, ours you your, yours they them their, theirs
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Gender Some singular pronouns indicate gender. • Masculine pronouns refer to males. • Feminine pronouns refer to females. • Neuter pronouns refer to places, things, ideas, and animals. Masculine Feminine Neuter he she it him her it his her, hers its himself herself itself
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Person indicates whether a pronoun refers to • the one(s) speaking first person I promised myself that I would clean my room. • the one(s) spoken to second person Do you have your library card with you? • the one(s) spoken about third person They built their new house themselves.
What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? On Your Own The following sentences contain errors in pronounantecedent agreement. Identify each error, and give the form of the pronoun that agrees with its antecedent. 1. Two girls won a prize for her project. 2. Although we drove through the mountains, we could not see it because of the fog. 3. If he calls this afternoon, tell he that I’ll call back. 4. My cousin’s house has two fireplaces in them. 5. The children forgot to put on its jackets. [End of Section]
Indefinite pronouns refer to a person or thing whose exact identity is unknown. • Some indefinite pronouns are singular. • Some are plural. • Some may be either singular or plural depending on how they are used.
Indefinite pronouns The following indefinite pronouns are singular: Singular Indefinite Pronouns anybody either neither one anyone everybody nobody somebody anything everyone no one someone each everything nothing something Everybody onbirdsboys’completed his nest. One of the women waved to has its racket. Each of the had team her children.
Indefinite pronouns do not indicate gender. Often a word in a phrase following the indefinite pronoun will tell you the gender. Each of the women runs her own business. When you do not know the gender of the antecedent, use both the masculine and feminine pronouns connected by or. No one remembered to bring his or her permission slip.
Indefinite pronouns The following indefinite pronouns are plural: Plural Indefinite Pronouns both few many several Few of the passengers waited by themselves. Both of the babies closed their eyes. If many are cracked, discard them.
Indefinite pronouns The following indefinite pronouns may be singular or plural, depending on how they are used: Singular or Plural Indefinite Pronouns all more none any most some I deleted some of the document. Is there a way to recover it? Singular I deleted some of the documents. Is there a way to recover them? Plural
Compound antecedents A compound antecedent is two or more antecedents joined by and or or. • Use a plural pronoun to refer to two or more antecedents joined by and. Wind and Antecedent 1 Nina, Antecedent 1 rain unleashed their fury on the land. Antecedent 2 Sandra, and Antecedent 2 Maya taught themselves. Antecedent 3
Compound antecedents • Use a singular pronoun to refer to two or more singular antecedents joined by or or nor. Craig or Singular Neither Kate Singular Keith will bring his camera. Singular nor Ann said that she would help. Singular
Indefinite pronouns and compound antecedents On Your Own Most of the following sentences contain pronouns that do not agree with their antecedents. If a pronoun does not agree with its antecedent, provide the correct pronoun. If a sentence is already correct, write C. 1. One of the boys brought their basketball. 2. Hilda and Lupe presented her reports. 3. Either the puppy or the kitten lost their collar. 4. Everyone should wash their own dishes after lunch. 5. All the students worked hard to improve themselves. [End of Section]
Solving special agreement problems Collective nouns A collective noun may be either singular or plural, depending on how the noun is used. • Use a singular pronoun when the noun refers to the group as a unit. The tour group surprised its guide by presenting her with a lovely thank-you gift. • Use a plural pronoun when the noun refers to parts of the group or to individual members. The guide surprised the tour group by presenting them with souvenirs.
Solving special agreement problems Plural forms Some nouns that are plural in form take singular pronouns. Plural Forms That Take Singular Verbs civics gymnastics molasses economics linguistics mumps electronics mathematics news genetics measles physics There’s no more molasses in the find it challenging. I am taking physics now, and I jar. Did you use it?
Solving special agreement problems Plural forms Some nouns that refer to single items take plural verbs. binoculars pants shears eyeglasses pliers slacks Olympics scissors trousers When the Olympics were on television, did After you use my scissors, please put them you where you found them. backwatch them?
Solving special agreement problems Titles Even when plural in form, these types of nouns take singular pronouns. • Titles of a creative work—books, songs, movies, or paintings Once I started watching Finders, I never missed an episode of it. • Names of countries, cities, or organizations I don’t know the population of Grand Rapids, but it is the second-largest city in Michigan. The Veterans of Foreign Wars held its parade last Saturday.
Solving special agreement problems Relative pronouns The gender and number of the relative pronoun that, which, or who is determined by the word to which the relative pronoun refers—its antecedent. Enrique, who lives with his aunt and uncle, was born in Puerto Rico. 1. The relative pronoun who refers to Enrique. 2. Enrique is a singular, masculine noun. 3. The relative pronoun who takes a singular, masculine pronoun, his.
Solving special agreement problems Expressions of amount An expression of amount (a measurement, percentage, or fraction) may be singular or plural, depending on how it is used. • Use a singular pronoun when the amount is thought of as a unit. The part costs fifty dollars, and I don’t have it. • Use a plural pronoun when the amount is thought of as separate items. He had dropped two dollars, so I picked them up for him.
Solving special agreement problems Expressions of amount A fraction or a percentage is • singular when it refers to a singular word. One quarter of the pizza is left. Do you want to take it home? • plural when it refers to a plural word. One quarter of the slices are left. Do you want to take them home?
Solving special agreement problems On Your Own Most of the following sentences contain pronouns that do not agree with their antecedents. If a pronoun does not agree with its antecedent, provide the correct pronoun. If a sentence is already correct, write C. 1. Did the Cub Scouts wear its hats during the ceremony? 2. The room, which had no decorations on their walls, looked very bare. 3. The team needs to make a decision about their mascot. 4. Measure two thirds of a cup of flour, and add it one spoonful at a time. 5. Locate the Netherlands on the map, and write the name of their capital city. [End of Section]
Review A Complete each sentence by providing pronouns that agree with their antecedents. 1. I enjoyed the movie, but ____ was too long. 2. Some of the members did not cast ____ votes yet. 3. Everyone in the class brought _____ notebook. 4. The woman, who was walking ____ dogs in the park, asked to use my cell phone. 5. Either Brian or Charles will read _______ report first.
Review B The following sentences contain errors in pronounantecedent agreement. Identify each error, and give the form of the pronoun that agrees with its antecedent. 1. If any of the oranges are left, please put it away. 2. The League of Women Voters will sponsor their annual debate for the candidates next week. 3. Mike bent the pliers and wasn’t able to straighten it. 4. One third of the field doesn’t have any crops planted in them. 5. Does anyone still need their locker combination? [End of Section]