What Is Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Examples

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement: Examples and Tips for Better Writing

Have you ever read a sentence and had to go back to figure out what the author meant because the pronoun did not agree with its antecedent? If so, you are not alone. Pronoun-antecedent agreement can be tricky, but it is essential for clear and effective writing.

So, what is pronoun-antecedent agreement?

Pronoun-antecedent agreement is the concept that a pronoun (he, she, it, they, etc.) must agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter) with its antecedent. The antecedent is the noun or pronoun that the pronoun refers to.

For example:

– Sarah went to the store, and she bought some milk. (the antecedent is Sarah, the pronoun is she)

– The dogs were barking, and they woke up the neighbors. (the antecedent is dogs, the pronoun is they)

Here are some common mistakes in pronoun-antecedent agreement and how to correct them:

1. Indefinite pronouns – Some pronouns, such as anyone, everyone, someone, and nobody, are singular. Therefore, they should be paired with singular pronouns.

Incorrect: Everyone brought their own lunch.

Correct: Everyone brought his or her own lunch.

2. Collective nouns – Collective nouns, such as team, family, and committee, can be tricky because they refer to a group of people or things but function as singular nouns. Therefore, they should be paired with singular pronouns.

Incorrect: The team won their game.

Correct: The team won its game.

3. Gender-neutral pronouns – There is a growing trend in using gender-neutral pronouns, such as they, them, and their, as singular pronouns. However, this can lead to confusion in writing because these pronouns can refer to either singular or plural antecedents.

Incorrect: Everyone brought their own lunch.

Correct: Everyone brought their own lunch or Everyone brought his or her own lunch.

In conclusion, pronoun-antecedent agreement is essential for clear and effective writing. By following these tips and examples, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your writing is grammatically correct and easy to understand.

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