Pronoun Agreement


Pronoun agreement is an essential aspect of the English language. It refers to ensuring that the pronouns used in a sentence agree with their antecedents in gender and number. Proper pronoun agreement is crucial for effective communication in written and verbal communication.

Pronoun agreement errors often occur when writers use pronouns without identifying their antecedents. For example, the sentence “Every student must submit their assignment” contains a pronoun (their) that doesn’t agree with its antecedent (Every student). The correct sentence would be “Every student must submit his or her assignment” or “All students must submit their assignments.”

Here are some tips to help you avoid pronoun agreement errors:

1. Identify the antecedent: Before using a pronoun in a sentence, identify its antecedent. The antecedent is the word or phrase that the pronoun refers to. It can be a noun, a pronoun, or a group of words acting as a noun.

2. Choose the right pronoun: The pronoun you choose must agree with the gender and number of its antecedent. For example, if the antecedent is singular and masculine, use “he,” “him,” or “his.” If the antecedent is singular and feminine, use “she,” “her,” or “hers.” If the antecedent is plural, use “they,” “them,” or “theirs.”

3. Be consistent: Once you choose a pronoun to refer to an antecedent, stick with it throughout the sentence and the paragraph. Don`t switch between “he,” “she,” and “they” to refer to the same person or thing.

4. Check for ambiguity: Pronoun agreement errors can sometimes create ambiguity in a sentence, making it unclear who or what the pronoun refers to. Read your sentences aloud and make sure they are clear and unambiguous.

In conclusion, pronoun agreement is a crucial component of effective communication in English. By following these tips and taking the time to identify antecedents and choose the right pronouns, you can avoid common errors and improve your writing. As a copy editor, it’s essential to pay close attention to pronoun agreement as it can significantly impact the credibility of the content you are editing.