Pronoun-antecedent agreement is a basic grammatical concept that refers to the consistency between a pronoun and its antecedent. An antecedent is a word that the pronoun refers to, and it is essential that both the pronoun and the antecedent agree in number, gender, and person.
However, one common mistake that many writers make is the lack of pronoun-antecedent agreement, leading to ambiguity and confusion in communication. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some examples of this issue and how to fix them.
Example 1: Incorrect Pronoun Number Agreement
Incorrect: Each of the students must submit their project on time.
Correct: Each of the students must submit his or her project on time.
In this example, the pronoun “their” does not agree in number with the singular antecedent “each student.” The correct way to fix this issue is to use the gender-neutral pronoun “his or her” instead of “their.”
Example 2: Incorrect Pronoun Gender Agreement
Incorrect: The doctor said they would be able to perform the surgery next week.
Correct: The doctor said he or she would be able to perform the surgery next week.
In this example, the pronoun “they” does not agree in gender with the singular antecedent “doctor.” The correct way to fix this issue is to use the gender-neutral pronoun “he or she” instead of “they.”
Example 3: Incorrect Pronoun Person Agreement
Incorrect: When someone needs help, you should always be willing to lend a hand.
Correct: When someone needs help, he or she should always be willing to lend a hand.
In this example, the pronoun “you” does not agree in person with the third-person singular antecedent “someone.” The correct way to fix this issue is to use the appropriate third-person singular pronoun “he or she” instead of “you.”
The lack of pronoun-antecedent agreement can easily lead to confusion and ambiguity in communication. It is, therefore, important to carefully proofread and edit written work to ensure that there is consistency between pronouns and antecedents. By doing so, we can improve our communication and avoid any misinterpretations.