Pronouns Handout

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  • 1. PRONOUNS<br />A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun or another pronoun. Pronouns must match the number and gender of the noun they stand for and be in a case (form) that matches its function.Pronouns have the same functions as nouns: They may act as subjects and subject complements, direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions.<br />A. PERSONAL PRONOUNS: Personal pronouns refer to specific persons, places, or things.<br />1. Subjective Case: A personal pronoun should be in the subjective case (form) if the pronoun functions as a subject or subject complement. A subject pronoun usually comes before the verb; a subject complement pronoun follows a linking verb.<br />2. Objective case: If a pronoun stands for any other noun than a subject or subject complement, use the objective case. Object pronouns can be direct objects (DO), indirect objects (IO), or objects of prepositions (OP). Notice that you and it are in both lists.<br />B. POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS: Possessive pronouns act as adjectives that show ownership.<br />1. These possessive pronouns act as adjectives showing ownership:<br />SingularPluralExamplesFirst Person:MyOurMy friend found his dog.Second Person:YourYourYou are the apple of my eye.Third Person:His/Her/ItsTheirTheir cat sharpened its claws.<br />Note: Do not confuse the pronoun its with the contraction it's, which means it is.<br />2. These possessive pronouns stand for an adjective possessive pronoun plus a noun:<br />SingularPluralExamplesFirst Person:MineOursThat backpack is mine.Second Person:YoursYoursThe decision is yours to make.Third Person:His/HersTheirsThey are returning to their homeland.<br />C. INDEFINITE PRONOUNS: Indefinite pronouns are noun substitutes that are not specific (definite) in meaning.<br />1. Indefinite pronouns fall into two categories:<br />List 1. Pronouns that refer to a non-specific noun:<br />anybody, anyone, anything, everybody, everyone, everything, nobody, none, no one, nothing, somebody, someone, something<br />Example: Nothing gets accomplished without some effort.List 2. Pronouns that refer to a specific noun whose meaning is clear only because of a previous mention or because of words that follow the indefinite pronoun:all, another, any, both, each, either, few, many, neither, one, some, several<br />Examples:<br />Several are planning to fly to New York.(The identity of the group that is flying to New York would have already been mentioned.)Do you want some of these books?(Books makes clear the meaning of some.)<br />Note: The indefinite pronouns in List 2 function simply as adjectives when they are directly followed by nouns.<br />Examples:Several students received awards.My mother baked some pies for the picnic.2. Indefinite pronouns may be singular or plural. The verbs (underlined) must match in number.|Singular|another, anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, something, someone|<br />There are four groups of students, and each has its own assignment.Something unexpected is happening.|<br />|Plural|both, few, many, several|Both of the documents were signed.Many in the audience agree with the speaker.|<br />Singular or Plural(Depending on the noun it stands for)|all, any, either, none, some, more, most|Some of the planning is finished.Some of the apples are ripe.|<br />Note: When these indefinite pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase, the pronoun should agree in number with the noun that is the object of the preposition.Remember that the verb must agree in number with the bolded antecedent. "Planning" takes a singular verb and "apples" takes a plural verb.<br />D. RELATIVE PRONOUNS: A relative pronoun connects (relates) an adjective clause or a noun clause to the rest of the sentence.<br />1. Relative pronouns that introduce adjective clauses:When a relative pronoun introduces an adjective clause, the pronoun refers to a noun already mentioned in the main clause of the sentence. who, whose, whom, which, that<br />Examples(Adjective clauses are underlined):The mystery novel that she recently completed will be published next year.(That refers back to novel and acts as a direct object in the adjective clause.)Healing is more rapid for patients who have a positive attitude.(Who refers back to patients and acts as the subject of the adjective clause.)<br />2. Relative pronouns that introduce noun clauses: who, whom, what, which, whose, whoever, whomever, whatever, whichever, thatWithin a sentence, a noun clause may function as a subject, complement, appositive, or object of a verb or preposition.The relative pronoun acts as a subject or object within the noun clause, though the normal word order may be changed.Note: Who and whoever are used as subject pronouns, and whom and whomever are used as object pronouns.(Noun clauses are underlined.)<br />Examples:Whoever uses the kitchen should wash the dishes.<br />(The noun clause is the subject of the sentence. Whoever is the subject of the noun clause.)<br />The criminal got what he deserved.<br />(The noun clause is the direct object of the verb got. Within the noun clause, what is the direct object of the verb deserved, even though it comes before the verb.)<br />E. INTERROGATIVE PRONOUNS: An interrogative pronoun introduces a question.<br /> who, whom, what, which, whose, whoever, whomever, whatever, whichever<br />Notice the similarity of this list to the relative pronoun list. Like relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns can have different grammatical functions. As in all questions, the word order may not be normal.<br />Examples:Whose books are those?(adjective modifying books)Whom will Mr. Broder select as head of the committee?(direct object of the verb will select)<br />In which of his two poems does the author express himself most effectively?(object of the preposition in)<br />F. DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS: The four demonstrative pronouns point out nouns. They often act as 1.) adjectives, indicating which person(s), places(s), or thing(s) are being referred to or as 2.) noun substitutes when the noun is understood.<br /> this, that, these, those<br />Examples:These problems are easy to solve.(adjective modifying problems)Do you like this wallpaper?(adjective modifying wallpaper)You like these apples, but I prefer those.(These acts as an adjective modifying apples; those acts as a pronoun that stands for the noun apples.)<br />G. INTENSIVE PRONOUNS: Intensive pronouns emphasize nouns or other pronouns. They immediately follow the noun they emphasize. If an intensive pronoun is omitted, the sentence will still make sense grammatically.<br />Singular: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself<br />Plural: ourselves, yourselves, themselves<br />Examples:The bank president himself called to apologize for the error.(Himself emphasizes president.)She herself was not as concerned as others were about the problem.(Herself emphasizes she.)<br />H. REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS: Reflexive pronouns rename subjects of action verbs. They function as various types of objects. If the reflexive pronoun is omitted, the sentence will not make sense. Note that the following list is the same as the list of intensive pronouns above.<br />Singular: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself<br />Plural: ourselves, yourselves, themselves<br />Examples:The logger cut himself with his ax.(direct object of the verb cut)Kim poured herself a cup of coffee(indirect object of the verb pour)The old man was talking loudly to himself.(object of the preposition to)<br />I. RECIPROCAL PRONOUNS: Reciprocal pronouns refer to individual parts of a preceding plural noun.<br />each other, one another<br />Examples:<br />The children waved goodbye to each other as they parted.<br />The students helped one another study before the test.<br />Usage - Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement<br />A pronoun is a word used to stand for (or take the place of) a noun. A word can refer to an earlier noun or pronoun in the sentence.<br />        Example:<br />                  <br />We do not talk or write this way.  Automatically, we replace the noun Lincoln's with a pronoun.  More naturally, we say<br />                    <br />The pronoun his refers to President Lincoln.<br />In this sentence, the pronoun his is called the REFERENT because it "refers back."<br />It refers back to President Lincoln, the ANTECEDENT.  An HYPERLINK "http://www.towson.edu/ows/proref.htm"  antecedent is a word for which a pronoun stands.  (ante = "before")<br />The pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.<br />Rule: A singular pronoun must replace a singular noun; a plural pronoun must replace a plural noun.<br />Thus, the mechanics of the sentence above look like this:<br />                <br />Here are nine pronoun-antecedent agreement rules.  These rules are related to the rules found in subject-verb agreement.<br />1.  A phrase or clause between the subject and verb does not change the number of the antecedent.<br />            Example:<br />                    <br />2.  Indefinite pronouns as antecedents<br />Singular indefinite pronoun antecedents take singular pronoun referents.   <br />          <br />            Example:<br />                    <br />
    • Plural indefinite pronoun antecedents require plural referents.
                    PLURAL:  several, few, both, many<br />            Example:<br />                    <br />Some indefinite pronouns that are modified by a prepositional phrase may be either singular or plural. <br />          EITHER SINGULAR OR PLURAL:  some, any, none, all, most<br />              <br />               Examples:<br />                        <br />                        Sugar is uncountable; therefore, the sentence has a singular referent pronoun.<br />                        <br />                        <br />                        Jewelry is uncountable; therefore, the sentence has a singular referent pronoun.<br />                <br />             <br />                Examples:<br />                          <br />                        Marbles are countable; therefore, the sentence has a plural referent pronoun.<br />                <br />                            <br />                        Jewels are countable; therefore, the sentence has a plural referent pronoun.<br />3.  Compound subjects joined by and always take a plural referent.<br />                    Example:<br />                         <br />4.  With compound subjects joined by or/nor, the referent pronoun agrees with the antecedent closer to the pronoun.<br />                    Example #1 (plural antecedent closer to pronoun):<br />                          <br />                    Example #2 (singular antecedent closer to pronoun):<br />                          <br />    Note:  Example #1, with the plural antecedent closer to the pronoun, creates a smoother sentence               than example #2, which forces the use of the singular "his or her."   <br />5.  Collective Nouns  (group, jury, crowd, team, etc.) may be singular or plural, depending on meaning.    <br />                          <br />                In this example, the jury is acting as one unit; therefore, the referent pronoun is singular.<br />                    <br />                          <br />                In this example, the jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore, the referent                 pronoun is plural.<br />            <br />                             <br />                  In this example, the jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore, the referent                  pronoun is plural.<br />      6.  Titles of single entities. (books, organizations, countries, etc.) take a singular referent.<br />        EXAMPLES:<br />                              <br />                                <br />7.  Plural form subjects with a singular meaning take a singular referent.  (news, measles, mumps, physics, etc)<br />        EXAMPLE:  <br />                            <br />8.  Every or Many a  before a noun or a series of nouns requires a singular referent.<br />            EXAMPLES:<br />                            <br />                            <br />9.  The number of   vs  A number of  before a subject:<br />The number of is singular.  <br />                           <br />A number of is plural.<br />                                    <br />