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Examples of Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Pronoun-antecedent agreement is a crucial aspect of writing that can greatly affect the clarity and effectiveness of communication. In essence, this refers to the proper use of pronouns to refer to their corresponding antecedents, which are the nouns or phrases that the pronouns replace.

To ensure proper pronoun-antecedent agreement, it’s important to consider two key factors: number and gender. That is, the pronoun should match the number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, or neutral) of its antecedent. Here are some examples of correct and incorrect usage of pronoun-antecedent agreement:

Correct: John went to the store, and he bought some milk.

In this sentence, “John” is the antecedent to the pronoun “he.” They both refer to the same person, and since John is singular and masculine, “he” is the correct pronoun to use.

Incorrect: The team played their best, but they still lost.

In this sentence, “team” is the antecedent to the pronoun “they.” However, “team” is singular, so using the plural pronoun “they” is incorrect. The correct pronoun to use would be “it”: The team played its best, but it still lost.

Correct: The girls finished their homework before going out.

In this sentence, “girls” is plural and feminine, so the pronoun “their” is the correct choice to agree with the antecedent.

Incorrect: Each driver should check their mirrors before turning.

In this sentence, “driver” is singular, so using the plural pronoun “their” is incorrect. The correct pronoun to use would be “his or her” or “he or she”: Each driver should check his or her mirrors before turning.

Correct: The cat groomed itself after eating.

In this sentence, “cat” is singular and neutral, so the reflexive pronoun “itself” is the correct choice to agree with the antecedent.

Incorrect: The dog wagged their tail happily.

In this sentence, “dog” is singular, so using the plural pronoun “their” is incorrect. The correct pronoun to use would be “its”: The dog wagged its tail happily.

In conclusion, proper pronoun-antecedent agreement is important in ensuring clear and effective communication. It requires attention to both number and gender, and incorrect usage can lead to confusion and ambiguity. By paying attention to these examples, writers can improve their writing and avoid common errors in pronoun-antecedent agreement.