Pronouns

A pronoun takes the place of a noun, called its antecedent or referent. 
The referent needs to be clear and explicit.

Clear referent: Amanda hung her coat in the hall closet.

Unclear referents: After the Blue Team beat the Orange Team, they gave them the second-place trophy.

The pronoun and its referent needs to agree in number, gender, and person:

    • Number agreement
      • A singular pronoun should refer to a singular antecedent:
        The boy rode his bicycle.
      • a plural pronoun should refer to a plural antecedent:
        The boys rode their bicycles.
      • Not: A police office must display their badges.
    • Gender agreement: The pronoun must match the referent in gender:
      • The police office must display his or her badge.
  • Person agreement: e.g. A third person pronoun should refer to a third person antecedent:
    • Everyone wants his or her own room. (NOT your room)

When an indefinite pronoun (each, some, all, none)is the antecedent:

  • Each of the students owns his or her own bicycle. (singular)
  • Some brought their own coats. (plural)
  • None of the answers was correct. (singular)

Who, which, that are relative pronouns whose referents should follow these guidelines:

  • who, whose, whom should be used for people:
    The man who washed my car did a good job.
  • which should be used for inanimate objects:
    The house next door, which was painted red, was considered an eyesore..
  • that should be used to restrict meaning (so is NOT set off by commas:
    The house that was painted red was considered an eyesore.

Gain extra practice using the StudyMate activities below.

Set 1 


Last Updated: 8/29/13