An Overview
 Definition: a word or phrase that takes the place of a noun or
noun phrase; takes the place of a noun/noun phrase you
have already mentioned
 There are subject pronouns, object pronouns, and
possessive pronouns
 Examples:
Subject: I, you, he, she, it, we, they
Object: us, you, them, me, him, her, it
Possessive: his, hers, its, our(s), your(s), their(s), my, mine
Other pronouns: who, us, one, anything, nothing, everything,
someone, themselves, myself
Pronoun Examples
 Mark lives down the street. He is my best friend.
 He=pronoun, which refers to Mark
 Kim and I went to the grocery. We bought spaghetti for
 We=pronoun, which refers to Kim and I
 Jim, Cathy, and Sam saw the play yesterday. They
thought it was a great performance.
 They=pronoun, which refers to Jim, Cathy, and Sam
 Definition: the noun a pronoun refers to
 The pronoun must agree with the antecedent in
number and gender.
 Singular pronouns must replace singular nouns and plural
pronouns must replace plural nouns.
 Masculine pronouns must replace masculine nouns and
feminine pronouns must replace feminine nouns.
Antecedent Examples
 Mark lives down the street. He is my best friend.
 He=pronoun (singular)
 Mark=antecedent (singular), which “he” refers to
 John, Tom, and Jill are teachers. They work at the
same elementary school.
 They=pronoun (plural)
 John, Tom, and Jill=antecedents (plural), which “they”
refers to
 Yesterday the driver took his car to the shop.
 His=pronoun (singular)
 The driver=antecedent (singular), which “his” refers to
 Katie walked to her car
 Her=pronoun, which agrees with Katie (the antecedent)
 “Her” is a singular, feminine pronoun
 A box of donuts was on the table. It was empty.
 It=pronoun, which refers to a box (the antecedent)
 “It” is a singular, object pronoun
 Sam and I were at the game. Did you see us?
 Us=pronoun, which refers to Sam and I
 “us” is a plural, object pronoun
More Examples
 Neither one of the men knew where his car was parked.
 Neither one=antecedent (singular)
 His=pronoun (singular)
 The policemen disagreed amongst themselves.
 Policemen=antecedent (plural)
 themselves=pronoun (plural)
 Both women found their purses.
 Both=antecedent (plural)
 Their=pronoun (plural
 John found his wallet in his pocket.
 John=antecedent (singular)
 His=pronoun (singular)
 A number of the employees lost their benefits.
 A number of=antecedent (plural)
 their=pronoun (plural)
Common Mistakes
 Incorrect: If a student wants to learn, they should ask
the teacher for help.
 Correct: If students want to learn, they should ask the teacher
for help.
 Students=antecedent (plural)
 They=pronoun (plural)
 Also correct: If a student wants to learn, he or she should ask
the teacher for help.
 Student=antecedent (singular)
 He or she=pronoun (singular)
 Incorrect: The company lost their contract with Dell.
 Correct: The company lost its contract with Dell.
 Company=antecedent (singular)
 its=pronoun (singular)
References and Further Help
 For more information on pronouns and antecedents,
consult the following:

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