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Points to Remember

Pronouns replace nouns or noun phrases. We use pronouns frequently. The word the pronoun replaces is called the antecedent. The pronoun that refers to this antecedent is called the referent. Pronouns must agree with nouns in usage, gender, and number.

 

Here is a list of pronouns:

 

Pronouns

Subject

Object

Person

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

First

I

We

Me

Us

Second

You

You

You

You

Third

He, She, It

They

Him, Her, It

Them

 

Pronouns

Possessive

Reflexive

Person

Singular

Plural

Singular

Plural

First

My/ Mine

Our/ Ours

Myself

Ourselves

Second

Your/ Yours

Your/ Yours

Yourself

Yourselves

Third

His, Her/ Hers, Its

Their/ Theirs

Himself, Herself, Itself

Themselves


1.
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number and gender.

 

Singular Pronouns:

the girl: she, her, hers, herself, one, oneself

the boy: he, him, his, himself, one, oneself

the tree: it, its, itself
 

Example: Rita is the girl who taught herself how to swim.

 

 Plural Pronouns:

the girls: they, them, their, theirs, themselves

the boys: they, them, their, theirs, themselves

the trees: they, them, their, theirs, themselves

 

Example: The boys said that they were ready.

 

NOTE: There are no such words as theirselves, theirself, or hisself in Standard English.

 

2. When the antecedent is a subject joined by  either-or or neither-nor, use the subject closest to the verb to determine the correct pronoun.

  • Either Nikhil or his brothers will have their notes from the class.
  • Neither the children nor Sunitahas her answers ready.

 

3. When the antecedent is a compound subject (two nouns joined by a coordinating conjunction, such as and, but, yet,) use a plural pronoun.

  • Abhishek and Rahul own their own home.
  • Both the cat and dog have eaten their food.

4. When the compound antecedent is joined by or
a) and both antecedents are singular, the pronoun is singular.

  • Either Ajay or Vijay gives his speech today.
b) When both antecedents are plural, the pronoun is plural.
  • The juniors or the seniors may take their tests today.
c)  When one antecedent is singular and the other is plural, the pronoun agrees with its closest antecedent.
  • Ms. Kumar or the Kapoorswill give their presentation.
  • Either the soldiers or the general will be required to submit his resignation.

 

5. Phrases such as one of, neither of, each of, and either of are singular antecedents and take a singular pronoun.

  • One (of the girls) lost her keys.
  • Everyone (of the kittens) had its own distinctive cry.
  • Neither (of the boys) had on his coat or hat.

6. Phrases such as both of and some of generally are plural antecedents and requireplural pronouns.

  • Some of the students had lost their books.
  • Both of the boys had their heads shaved.

 

7. Collective nouns (team, group, crowd, class) may be either singular or plural. They are plural when the speaker is thinking of the individual members of the group.

  • The class have agreed among themselves about their trip.
  • Collective nouns are singular when the speaker is thinking about the group as a unit.
  • The crowd made its way to the top of the hill.




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