Pronoun agreement


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Pronoun agreement

  1. 1. Pronoun agreement Four situations lead to problems with pronoun agreement. To deal with the problem, either change the pronoun so it agrees in number and person with the antecedent or change the noun to agree with the pronoun you have used.
  2. 2. 1- Compound subject • A compound subject joined by and requires plural pronouns. Correct: Both the oak tree and the rose bush had trouble regaining their strength after the storm.
  3. 3. Compound subjects joined by or or nor • Whichever noun is closer to the verb determines whether the pronoun should be singular or plural. Correct: Neither the oak tree nor the rose bushes regained their strength after the storm. Correct: Neither the rose bushes nor the oak tree regained its strength after the storm.
  4. 4. 2- Collective noun • Collective nouns represent a collection of things. For example: company, team, club, committee. Incorrect: The band showed their appreciation by playing several encores. Correct: The band showed its appreciation by playing several encores. Correct: The band members showed their appreciation by playing several encores.
  5. 5. • When the collective noun refers to a group or entity that acts as one unit use a singular pronoun. • When the collective noun refers to members of a group who act as individuals, use a plural pronoun. Correct: The band disagreed among themselves about the songs to be played.
  6. 6. 3- Indefinite pronouns Singular indefinite pronouns • anyone everyone no one someone • anybody everybody nobody somebody • either one neither each
  7. 7. • Note: in everyday speech, we often use plural pronouns (their, themselves) because such pronouns cause us to picture more than one person. For example, we may say “Everyone should bring their own laptop.” In formal writing, however, these indefinite pronouns are considered singular and must take a singular pronoun.
  8. 8. • Correct: Each of the buildings had its (not their) lobby redecorated. • Correct: Neither of the dancers was pleased with her (not their) performance. It is easier to make the antecedent plural than struggle with he/she or his/her or himself/ herself. • Everyone in the mall seemed lost in his or her own thoughts. • The shoppers in the mall seemed lost in their own thoughts.
  9. 9. 4- A shift in person • Within a sentence, pronouns should not disrupt pronoun antecedent agreement by shifting person (point of view). Incorrect: To drop a course, students [third person] should go to the counselor’s office where you [second person] obtain a course- change card. Incorrect: Most of us [first person]enjoy eating out, but you [second person] can never be sure that a favorite restaurant won’t lower its standards.