Agreement Between Pronoun and Antecedent

When writing, be grammatically consistent. Common errors editors find are in pronouns not matching their antecedents in number, gender, or person. Some examples are as follows:

  • The dog scratched his ear with its hind leg.
  • Each of the students has a chance of passing the course by themselves.
  • When it snowed, each tree and shrub appeared as if they were hulking white ghosts.
  • No one may enter without their photo identification.
  • You have to do what is right, although one may find her actions unpopular.
  • It isn’t easy for her in this economy when people are struggling to pay their bills.
  • In our family the children have rights, but you have responsibilities as well.

In each example the pronoun doesn’t match the antecedent in either person, number, or gender. The dog is either an it or a him, but choose and be consistent. You is first-person and her third. Again, choose the person and stick with either you or her.  Here are the examples again with grammatical agreement:

  • The dog scratched its ear with its hind leg.
  • All of the students have a chance of passing the course by themselves.
  • When it snowed, each tree and shrub appeared as if it were a hulking white ghost.
  • No one may enter without his or her photo identification. (or No one may enter without photo identification.)
  • You have to do what is right, although one may find your actions unpopular.
  • It isn’t easy for her in this economy when she is struggling to pay her bills.
  • In our family the children have rights, but they have responsibilities as well.

These are suggested correction; there are alternatives. Just remember to keep agreement in gender, number, and person between pronouns and antecedents.

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