Grammar Bytes! :: The Antecedent
You can make at least three kinds of pronoun-antecedent errors. Readers become unhappy when they have to guess what noun a writer is talking about. Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Rules. A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun. Many pronouns have antecedents, nouns or pronouns to which they. In order to understand pronoun – antecedent agreement, you must first understand pronouns. A pronoun is a word used to stand for (or take the place of) a noun.
Fine, straight up sentence, pretty ordinary.
If we wanna refer to Jillian again, but we want to use a pronoun, well, we refer to Jillian as she. That's a women's name, so she.
She bought some garlic and a spoon, like you normally would when you go to the grocery store. When we talk about this pronoun she, in relation to this word, this proper noun Jillian, Jillian is the antecedent, is the thing that goes before the pronoun she, so that whenever you use a pronoun, you are referring back to something else, the thing that went before, the antecedent, the thing that has come previously.
So you want to make sure that these things match up. So for example, we know from living in this culture, that Jillian is a women's name, so it would probably be incorrect to refer to her has he. Jillian rode her bike to the grocery store, he bought some garlic and a spoon.
This sounds like we're talking about someone else. So even within this initial sentence too, Jillian rode her bike to the grocery store.
We're referring back to Jillian using this possessive pronoun to define the bicycle. So the monkeys threw snowballs, but they had crummy aim.
So we're using they to refer back to the monkeys, so this thing is a plural noun, right? We're referring to multiple monkeys, so it would be incorrect to say the monkeys threw snowballs, but it had crummy aim, because this makes it seem like we're talking about one monkey, when in fact, we're talking about an army of snowball chucking monkeys.
Relative Pronouns who, whom, whose, that, which Read these examples: Principal Meyers, whose nose hair curled outside his nostrils, delivered the morning announcements. The dish that contains the leftover squid eyeball stew cannot go in the microwave. Eating ice cream for dinner, which might not be nutritionally smart, is what Teresa wanted after her long day of waitressing.
Realize that some antecedents can make pronoun agreement tricky. Usually, maintaining agreement between antecedents and pronouns is easy. A singular antecedent requires a singular pronoun, like this: The cat yowled its happiness for tuna. And a plural antecedent requires a plural pronoun, like this: The cats yowled their happiness for tuna.
Pronoun Antecedent handout
Sometimes, however, establishing agreement can be tricky. Consider the situations below.What are Pronouns?
Each and Every When you join two or more singular nouns with and, you create a plural antecedent: The beetle and baby snake were thankful they escaped the lawnmower blade. If, however, you include each or every in front, the antecedent becomes singular and will thus require a singular pronoun: Each beetle and baby snake was thankful it escaped the lawnmower blade.
No matter how many nouns you include, if you have each or every in front, the antecedent is singular and needs a singular pronoun for agreement: Each beetle, baby snake, worm, centipede, lizard, grasshopper, and toad was thankful it escaped the lawnmower blade.
Correlative Conjunctions When you use correlative conjunctions like either If, for example, the second antecedent is plural, then the pronoun that follows must be plural: