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Pronouns

What is a pronoun?
A pronoun is used in place of a noun.  Different forms are used to show person, number, gender, and case.  There are personal, interrogative, indefinite, demonstrative, and reflexive pronouns.

Singular

Nominative

Objective

Possessive

1st person

I

me

my, mine

2nd person

you

you

your

3rd person masculine

he

him

his

3rd person feminine

she

her

her

3rd person neuter

it

it

its


Plural

Nominative

Objective

Possessive

1st person

we

us

our, ours

2nd person

you

you

your, yours

3rd person

they

them

their, theirs

For example:          I took my sister to her doctor.
                              She gave us a new table for our kitchen.

                             For example:          Who left the light on?
                                                           Which book is yours?

                             For example:          Matt was the one who built the picnic table.
                                                          The house, which has a garden in bloom, is very inviting.

                             For example:          No one has a good idea for the workshop. (singular)
                                                          Many go on vacation in August.  (plural)                      
           
The indefinite pronouns some, none, all, most, and any can be singular or plural depending on the meaning of the sentence.

                             For example:          Some of the work is done.  (singular)
                                                          Some of the marks come off easily. (plural)

                             For example:          This is more expensive than that.
                                                          These are my favorites, not those.

                             For example:          Bianca made the cake by herself.
                                                          Erin and Renee tried to occupy themselves when work was slow.

Pronoun and antecedent agreement
A pronoun must agree in person and number with its antecedent, the word that the pronoun replaces or the word to which it refers.

Incorrect:          A student should be careful about checking the grammar in their writing.
Correct:            Students should be careful about checking the grammar in their writing.

                             For example:          Lisa and Tracy are writing their papers.

                             For example:          Ben or James will read his essay.

                             For example:          The teacher or the students will have their way.
                                                           The students or the teacher will have her way.

Vague pronoun reference
In conversation, the words it and they are often used to make vague reference to people and situations.  In writing, more precise identification is needed.

Vague:              We are having difficulty with the math lessons.  It is confusing.
Better:              We are having difficulty with the math lessons, which are confusing.


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