myQBook Grammar Concept



Antecedents and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun usually refers to a noun (or another pronoun) already mentioned, which is called that pronoun’s antecedent.

For example: I did not see Mark at the party yesterday because he wasn’t there.

Here, "Mark" is the antecedent for the pronoun “he”, and "party" is the antecedent for the pronoun "there".

A pronoun's antecedent, however, doesn't always need to be in the same sentence as the pronoun.

For example: Look at Lisa. She is dancing enthusiastically on the stage.

Here, "She" refers to Lisa. The pronoun's antecedent is not in the same sentence as the pronoun.

A pronoun must always agree with its antecedent. If the antecedent is singular, the pronoun must also be singular. If the antecedent is plural, the pronoun must also be plural. For example:

Lisa walked off the stage, happy with their performance.

Here, the pronoun, “their” and the antecedent, “Lisa”, do not agree. “Lisa” is singular, and “their” is plural. To make the pronoun agree, we need to change “their” to a singular pronoun. The correct version is:

Lisa walked off the stage, happy with her performance.

In the above example, if the writer intended to say that Lisa was happy with her group's performance rather than just her own, then the correct sentence would be:

Lisa walked off the stage, happy with her group's performance.

Some people may think that the pronoun "their" would have been correct in this situation. However, "their" cannot be used here because it doesn't have an antecedent. All pronouns except for "it" must always have an antecedent. Therefore, a regular possessive noun, "group's" must be used here.

 





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Pronouns
Personal Pronouns

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