What is a pronoun? A pronoun replaces nouns or other pronouns in a sentence so that you do not have to repeat them. In the following sentence, her is a pronoun that replaces Traci: Traci gave me her number. The noun or pronoun that a pronoun replaces is called the antecedent. In the previous sentence, Traci is the antecedent of her.
Keep the following points in mind about pronouns. (See your textbook for more specific details and advice.) A pronoun must agree with (match) the noun it refers to in number: Both must be singular (one) or plural (more than one). In the following sentence, the pronoun their agrees with the Trans because both are plural: The Trans sold their house. If a pronoun refers to a singular noun, it must also match that noun in gender: he for masculine nouns, she for feminine nouns, and it for genderless nouns. In the following sentence, his agrees with Mike because both are singular and masculine: Mike likes his coffee hot. Indefinite pronouns (like anybody, everyone, and somebody) often take singular verbs.
Collective nouns (like audience, class, and group) are often singular, unless the people in a group are acting separately. A pronoun should refer to only one noun, and it should be clear what that noun is.UNCLEAR Manuel told Robert that he had to work.[Which one of them had to work?]CLEAR Manuel told Robert to work.A pronoun should replace the subject of a sentence, not repeat it.INCORRECT The letter carrier, he came at noon.CORRECT The letter carrier came at noon.
A subject pronoun serves as the subject of a verb: She likes canoeing. An object pronoun either receives the action of the verb (Carol took me to the store) or is part of a prepositional phrase (Raul gave the watch to me). Possessive pronouns show ownership: That car is mine.
Be careful with pronoun usage in the following types of sentences: Those with more than one subject or object: Lula and I work together. Lula works with Joe and me. Those presenting comparisons: Collette drives faster than I. Collette likes Tina more than me. (The previous sentence means Collette likes Tina more than she likes me.) Those with who or whom. Who is always a subject; whom is always an object. Rick is the man who works at my company. Rick is the man to whom I sent the memo.