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7th Grade Language Arts / Lesson 2.2.3: Pronouns(Day 3)

Pronoun/Antecedent Agreement
What is an antecedent?    


  • Every pronoun has an antecedent.
  • It is the noun which has been replaced by a pronoun.

          Example : Richard took his dog for a long walk.

Without using a pronoun (his) the example would look like this:

  • Richard took Richard's dog for a long walk.
  • We have replaced "Richard's" with the pronoun "his."
  • Therefore, the antecedent of the pronoun "his" is "Richard's"


Where does the word antecedent come from?


  • Antecedent looks and sounds like a difficult word, but if you learn about the parts of it (prefixes, roots and suffixes), it makes perfect sense!

When we add these word parts together we get the meaning of "antecedent" - one who goes before!


Why do pronouns have to agree with their antecedents?


If pronouns don't agree with antecedents, things get very confusing.

  1. The meaning of the sentence can be changed.
  2. It makes it hard for your listeners or readers to know who your pronoun refers to.

Example : Let's look at the previous sentence without the proper pronoun/ antecedent agreement.

1.Richard took their dog for a long walk.
   Whose dog did Richard walk? His neighbors?

2.Richard took my dog for a long walk.
   Wasn't it nice of Richard to walk my dog for me?

Do you see how the meaning of the sentence has been changed? Are you confused about whose dog Richard walked? I am!!


In what ways do pronouns & antecedents have to agree?


  • Pronouns and antecedents have to agree in three ways
    1. Number
    2. Gender
    3. Person


What does it mean when pronouns & antecedents have to agree in number?


  • This just means you can't use a plural pronoun with a singular noun or vice versa.

    Example : Jessica asked their mother for permission to go on the school field trip.

                     1. This doesn't even sound right or make sense.
                     2. That's because the antecedent "Jessica" is singular - she's just one person.
                     3. "Their" is a plural pronoun, but we only know about one person - Jessica!
                     4. The pronoun "their" doesn't agree in number with the antecedent "Jessica."


What does it mean when pronouns & antecedents have to agree in gender?


  • Gender means sex - masculine (male) and feminine (female)

  • You cannot use a feminine pronoun with a masculine antecedent or vice versa.
    Example : Jessica asked his mother for permission to go on the school field trip.
    1. Again, this doesn't make sense.
    2. That's because the antecedent "Jessica" is a female name.
    3. "His" is a masculine pronoun.
    4. The pronoun does not agree in gender with the antecedent.


What does it mean when pronouns & antecedents have to agree in person?


  • There are three categories of person
    1. First person      : one person referring to him/herself or a group he/she belongs to.
    2. Second person : one person referring to a second person about the second person or a                                   group he/she belongs to
    3. Third person     : one person referring to a second person about a third person or thing.


What does it mean when pronouns & antecedents have to agree in person?


          Examples of first, second & third person pronouns
    First Person
    I, me, my, we, our
    Second Person
    you, your
    Third Person
    he, she, it, them, they, their


What does it mean when pronouns & antecedents have to agree in person?


    Example :
    Jessica learned French last year. You need to know this language when you go to Paris.

    1. This makes perfect sense to most of us because it is the most commonly made     pronoun/antecedent error made.
    2. Jessica, the antecedent, is a third person noun - I (first person) am referring to you     (second person) about a third person (Jessica)
    3. The pronoun you is second person.
    4. The pronoun and antecedent do not agree in person.


    Corrected Example :
    Jessica learned French last year. She will need to know this language when she goes to Paris.


Reflexive Pronouns

A reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of a sentence.  It always ends with -self or -selves.

The reflexive pronouns are:

  • herself
  • himself
  • itself
  • myself
  • ourselves
  • themselves
  • yourselves

Reflexive pronouns always refer a person or thing that is mentioned in the same sentence.

  • I learned a lot about myself at summer camp. (Myself refers back to I)
  • The should divide the berries among themselves. (Themselves refers back to they.

 


A reflexive pronoun is always used with a subject not instead of a subject

 Jay and I worked by ourselves.  Jay and I" is a compound subject.  The reflexive pronoun ourselves refers to more than one person

A reflexive pronoun is never the subject or part of the subject of a sentence.

 Sue and myself made lunch.  Myself is a reflective pronoun and should not be part of the subject.