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9.1: Pronouns

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    36328
  • Pronouns

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    Subject, Object, and Possessive Pronouns

    Subject pronouns are often the subject of a sentence--who or what the sentence is about.

    She loves the desserts in France.

    She is the subject.

    The feminine subject pronoun is she, and the feminine object pronoun is her.

    By lunch time, they were hungry.

    They is the subject.

    Object pronouns are often the object of the verb -- who or what was acted upon.

    Melanie's thoughtfulness touched him.

    Him is the object of the verb touched.

    The masculine subject pronoun is he, and the masculine object pronoun is him.

    We lifted it.

    It is the object of the verb lifted.

    A pronoun that shows possession or ownership is called a possessive pronoun.

    The teacher took her apple and left.

    The pronoun her shows the teacher owns the apple.

    The hikers spotted their guide on the trail.

    The pronoun their shows the hikers follow the guide who was assigned to the hikers.

    Table of Pronouns

    Subject Pronouns Object Pronouns Possessive Pronouns

    I

    you

    he, she, it

    we

    they

    me

    you

    him, her, it

    us

    them

    my (mine)

    your(s)

    his, hers, its

    our(s)

    their(s)

    Exercise: Select the Correct Pronoun

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    Complete the following sentences by selecting the correct pronoun. Then circle the noun the pronoun replaces.

    1. In the current economy, nobody wants to waste ________ money on frivolous things.
    2. If anybody chooses to go to medical school, ________ must be prepared to work long hours.
    3. The plumbing crew did ________ best to repair the broken pipes before the next ice storm.
    4. If someone is rude to you, try giving ________ a smile in return.
    5. My family has ________ faults, but I still love them no matter what.
    6. The school of education plans to train ________ students to be literacy tutors.
    7. The commencement speaker said that each student has a responsibility toward ________.
    8. My mother's singing group has ________ rehearsals on Thursday evenings.
    9. No one should suffer ________ pains alone.
    10. I thought the flock of birds lost ________ way in the storm.

    Common Pronoun Errors

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    English language learners often make the same errors when using pronouns. The following examples illustrate common errors.

    I/Me Incorrect

    Me and Daniela went to the restaurant for lunch.

    This sentence is incorrect because an object pronoun (me) is used instead of a subject pronoun.

    I/Me Correct

    Daniela and I went to the restaurant for lunch.

    This sentence is now correct because a subject pronoun (I) is used.

    Wrong Gender Incorrect

    Mark put her grocery bag on the counter.

    This sentence is incorrect because the pronoun her refers to a female, and Mark is a male.

    Wrong Gender Correct

    Mark put his grocery bag on the counter.

    This sentence is now correct because the male pronoun his refers to the male person, Mark.

    Repeated Pronoun Incorrect

    The woman she went to work earlier than usual.

    This sentence is incorrect because the subject the woman is repeated by the pronoun she.

    Repeated Pronoun Correct

    The woman went to work earlier than usual.

    -or-

    She went to work earlier than usual.

    These sentences are now correct because the unnecessary repeated subject has been removed.

    Exercise: Correct Common Pronoun Errors

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    Correct the following sentences that have pronoun errors. If the sentence is correct as it is, write OK.

    1. Us are going to the county fair this weekend.
    2. Steven did not want to see a movie because she had a headache.
    3. The teacher congratulated Maria and me.
    4. The eighth grade students they were all behaving mysteriously well.
    5. Derrick and he received the best grades on the grammar test.

    Relative Pronouns

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    A relative pronoun is a type of pronoun that helps connect details to the subject of the sentence and may often combine two shorter sentences.

    The relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, that, and sometimes when and where.

    First, Second, and Third Person Pronouns

    Singular Form Plural Form

    First Person

    I am.

    We are.

    Second Person

    You are.

    You are.

    Third Person

    He/She/It is.

    They are.

    Exercise: Correct the Relative Pronoun

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    Complete the following sentences by selecting the correct relative pronoun.

    1. He showed me a photo (who, that) upset me.
    2. Soccer is a fast moving game (who, that) has many fans worldwide.
    3. Juan is a man (which, who) has high standards for everything.
    4. Jamaica is a beautiful country (that, who) I would like to visit next year.
    5. My mother only eats bananas (who, that) are green.

    Exercise: Combine Sentences Using Relative Pronouns

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    Combine the two sentences into one sentence using a relative pronoun.

    1. Jeff is a dependable person. He will never let you down.
    2. I rode a roller coaster. It was scary.
    3. At the beach, I always dig my feet into the sand. It protects them from the hot sun.
    4. Jackie is trying not to use so many plastic products. They are not good for the environment.
    5. My Aunt Sherry is teaching me how to drive. She has never been in accident or gotten a ticket.

    Key Takeaways

    Pronouns

    • A pronoun is used in place of a noun. There are several types of pronouns, including subject and object pronouns, possessive pronouns, and relative pronouns.
    • Subject pronouns are the "who" and "what" the sentence is about. Object pronouns are the "who" and "what" that receives the action. A possessive pronoun is a pronoun showing ownership.
    • Common pronoun errors include mixing up subject, object, and gender pronouns, and repeating the subject of a sentence with a pronoun. Relative pronouns help combine two separate sentences.

    Pronouns and Antecedents

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    If there were no pronouns, all types of writing would be quite tedious to read.

    We would soon be frustrated by reading sentences like "Bob said that Bob was tired" or "Christina told the class that Christina received an A."

    Pronouns help a writer avoid constant repetition. Knowing just how pronouns work is an important aspect of clear and concise writing.

    Pronoun Agreement

    A pronoun is a word that takes the place of (or refers back to) a noun or another pronoun. The word or words a pronoun refers to is called the "antecedent" of the pronoun.

    Lani complained that she was exhausted.

    She refers to Lani.

    Lani is the antecedent of she.

    Jeremy left the party early, so I did not see him until Monday at work.

    Him refers to Jeremy.

    Jeremy is the antecedent of him.

    Crina and Rosalie have been best friends ever since they were freshman in high school.

    They refers to Crina and Rosalie.

    Crina and Rosalie is the antecedent of they.

    Pronoun agreement errors occur when the pronoun and the antecedent do not match or agree with each other. There are several types of pronoun agreement.

    Agreement in Number

    If the pronoun takes the place of or refers to a singular noun, the pronoun must also be singular.

    Agreement in Person

    Singular Pronouns Plural Pronouns First Person I me my (mine) we us our (ours) Second Person you you your (yours) you you your (your) Third Person he, she, it him, her, it his, her, its they them their (theirs)

    If you use a consistent person, your reader is less likely to be confused.

    Indefinite Pronouns and Collective Nouns

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    Indefinite Pronouns

    Indefinite pronouns do not refer to a specific person or thing and are usually singular.

    Note that a pronoun that refers to an indefinite singular pronoun should also be singular.

    PastedImage_wjoothyr7sumx6igx1kryhspkknck6ql001294302232.pngThe pronoun "they " is often used for gender neutrality.

    Common Indefinite Pronouns

    all

    any

    anybody

    anyone

    anything

    both

    each

    each one

    each other

    either

    everybody

    everyone

    everything

    few

    many

    neither

    no one

    nobody

    none

    none other

    nothing

    one

    one another

    oneself

    others

    several

    some

    somebody

    someone

    something

    Collective Nouns

    Collective nouns suggest more than one person but are usually considered singular.

    Common Collective Nouns

    audience

    band

    class

    committee

    company

    faculty

    family

    government

    group

    jury

    public

    school

    society

    team

    tribe

    Exercise: Select the Correct Pronoun

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    Complete the following sentences by selecting the correct pronoun. Then circle the noun the pronoun replaces.

    1. In the current economy, nobody wants to waste ________ money on frivolous things.
    2. If anybody chooses to go to medical school, ________ must be prepared to work long hours.
    3. The plumbing crew did ________ best to repair the broken pipes before the next ice storm.
    4. If someone is rude to you, try giving ________ a smile in return.
    5. My family has ________ faults, but I still love them no matter what.
    6. The school of education plans to train ________ students to be literacy tutors.
    7. The commencement speaker said that each student has a responsibility toward ________.
    8. My mother's singing group has ________ rehearsals on Thursday evenings.
    9. No one should suffer ________ pains alone.
    10. I thought the flock of birds lost ________ way in the storm.

    Who vs. Whom

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    Who or whoever is always the subject of a verb. Use who or whoever when the pronoun performs the action indicated by the verb.

    • Who won the marathon last Tuesday?
    • I wonder who came up with that terrible idea!

    On the other hand, whom and whomever serve as objects. They are used when the pronoun does not perform an action. Use whom or whomever when the pronoun is the direct object of a verb or the object of a preposition.

    • Whom did Frank marry the third time? (direct object of verb)
    • From whom did you buy that old record player? (object of preposition)

    PastedImage_rjjixbkukkly1l2vcxrffqzeq923yvcc001294302232.pngIf you are having trouble deciding when to use who and whom, try this trick. Reorder the sentence in your head, using either he/she or him/her in place of who or whom.

    If you can use him/her, you should use whom.

    Exercise: Who or Whom?

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    Complete the following sentences by adding who or whom.

    1. ________ hit the home run?
    2. I remember ________ won the Academy Award for Best Actor last year.
    3. To ________ is the letter addressed?
    4. I have no idea ________ left the iron on, but I am going to find out.
    5. _______ are you going to recommend for the internship?
    6. With ________ are you going to Hawaii?
    7. No one knew ________ the famous actor was.
    8. ________ in the office knows how to fix the copy machine?
    9. From ________ did you get the concert tickets?
    10. No one knew ________ ate the cake mom was saving.

    Key Takeaways

    Pronouns

    • A pronoun is used in place of a noun. There are several types of pronouns, including subject and object pronouns, possessive pronouns, and relative pronouns.
    • Subject pronouns are the "who" and "what" the sentence is about. Object pronouns are the "who" and "what" that receives the action. A possessive pronoun is a pronoun showing ownership.
    • Common pronoun errors include mixing up subject, object, and gender pronouns, and repeating the subject of a sentence with a pronoun. Relative pronouns help combine two separate sentences.
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