In this chapter we are going to discuss the following topics

  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Pronoun
  • Parallelism with NOUN in Numbers, Person, and Gender
  • Pronouns as Singular and Plural

1) PRONOUN AGREEMENT

In Standard English, one may say I am or he is, but not “I is” or “he am”. This is because the grammar of the language requires that the verb and its subject agree in person. The pronouns I and he are first and third person respectively, as are the verb forms am and is. The verb form must be selected so that it has the same person as the subject.

Example

They- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – drive- – – – – – – – – – – -their cars to school.

(plural subject & antecedent)         (plural verb)                (plural pronoun)

 

He- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — drives- – – – – – – – – – – – – his car to school.

(singular subject & antecedent)      (singular verb)                    (singular pronoun)


2) PRONOUN

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun or refers back to a noun already mentioned. Common pronouns include: he, she, it, they, this, that, their, his, her, which. We must be very careful when using pronouns in order to be sure that our reader understands which pronoun is referring to what (The word a pronoun refers back to is called the antecedent).

1.PRONOUNS MUST AVOID BEING VAGUE IN WHAT THEY REFER 

There are two common problems with vague pronouns. One occurs when there is more than one noun that the pronoun could refer to. The other occurs when a pronoun used refers to a word that is implied but not specifically stated.

1)WRONG: After the teacher gave Susan the paper, she walked away angrily.

The problem here is the vague pronoun “she.” It creates a situation in which the reader can’t tell who walked away angrily – the teacher or Susan.

CORRECT: After the teacher gave Susan the paper, teacher walked away angrily.

 

2)WRONG: At UNR, they keep the grounds looking neat and tidy.

The problem here is the pronoun “they.” Who is this mysterious “they”? The pronoun is too ambiguous and unclear. An answer choice could avoid potential ambiguity by not using a pronoun in the first place.

CORRECT: At UNR, students keep the grounds looking neat and tidy. If we spot a split between a pronoun and a regular noun, chances are good that the correct answer will use the regular noun, since that usage will prevent any possible misreading of a pronoun.

2. NOBODY AND NOTHING ARE NEGATIVES. NEVER USE THEM IN A SENTENCE WITH NOT

This mistake is called “the double negative.” If you need to use not, you should use anybody and anything, instead of nobody and nothing.

Right— I know nobody is there.
Right— I do not know anybody is there.
Wrong— I don’t know “nobody” is there.
Right— I have not done anything wrong.
Right— I have done nothing wrong.
Wrong— I haven’t done “nothing” wrong.

3) PRONOUNS DO NOT TAKE THE ‘S TO SHOW POSSESSION

Except a few of the indefinite pronouns which are like nouns in some of their uses pronouns do not show possession. We write it, its, but one’s, another’s, everybody’s, nobody’s, everybody else’s, etc. Notice that the correct literary form is everybody else’s, and not everybody’s else.


PARALLELISM WITH NOUN IN NUMBER,PERSON AND GENDER

Agreement generally involves matching the value of some grammatical category between different constituents of a sentence (or sometimes between sentences, as in some cases where a pronoun is required to agree with its antecedent or referent). Some categories that commonly trigger grammatical agreement are noted below.

AGREEMENT WITH NUMBERS

Singular nouns with singular pronouns. Plural nouns must match with plural pronouns. If two nouns are joined with the conjunction and, use a plural pronoun. If they are joined by or or nor, use a pronoun that matches the last noun.

Example:

  • Joe and Ray brought their books to class.
  • Joe or Ray brought his book to class.
  • Mrs. Asin or her students brought their books to class.
  • The students or Mrs. Asin brought her book to class.
  • The man brought his dog, and the girl brought her dog.

AGREEMENT WITH PERSON

For the person who speaks or write, use I, me, we, or us. One who listens or reads, use you. Someone who is referred, use he, she, it, him, her, they, them.

Example:

Please bring me a pen when you come from the office.

AGREEMENT WITH GENDER

When writing or speaking about male, use he and him. For female, use she or her. If don’t know the gender, use he or she, him or his, or his or her. Use their if the antecedent is plural.

NOTE: Using their instead of his or her is becoming acceptable in spoken English, but make sure to use his or her in written English. An easy way to fix this problem is to make the subject plural.

Example:

  • The man found his missing shoe, and the woman found her missing shoe.
  • A new doctor must pass his or her certification exam before getting a license.
  • New doctors must pass their certification exams before getting licenses.

PRONOUNS AS SINGULAR AND PLURAL

All regular verbs (and nearly all irregular ones) in English agree in the third-person singular of the present indicative by adding a suffix of either -s or -es. (e.g. he rushes, it lurches, she amasses, it buzzes.)

Present tense of to love

PERSONSINGULARPLURAL
FIRSTI loveWe Love
SECONDyou loveyou love
THIRDhe/she/it lovethey love

There are not many irregularities in this formation:

  • to have, to go and to do render has, goes and does.

The highly irregular verb to be is the only verb with more agreement than this in the present tense.

Present tense of to be

PERSONSINGULARPLURAL
FIRSTI amwe are
SECONDyou areyou are
THIRDhe/she/it is they are

Note also the agreement shown by to be even in the subjunctive mood.

Imperfect subjunctive of to be in Early modern English

PERSONSINGULARPLURAL
FIRST(if) I were(if) we were
SECOND(if) you were(if) you were
THIRD(if) he/she/it were(if) they were

PRONOUNS AS PLURAL AND SINGULAR

Pronouns come with a trait of definite and indefinite pronouns.

Definite Pronouns are particular in numbers as singular and plural. Different types of definite pronouns are personal, possessive, reflexive and emphatic pronouns.

Indefinite Pronouns are ambiguous one because we have to check the number of pronouns that the pronouns refer to is singular or plural.