Pronouns take the place of one or more nouns. • We have discussed a number of different kinds of pronouns, including the following: • Personal Subject • Relative Object • Indefinite Interrogative • Reflexive Possessive • Intensive
Subject pronouns take the place of nouns acting as subjects in sentences. • I • You • He, she, it • We • They
First person: the person(s) or thing(s) speaking or writing (I, me, we, us) • Second person: the person(s) or thing(s) being spoken or written to (you) • Third person: the person(s) or thing(s) being written about (she, her, he, him, it)
Relative Pronouns Relative pronouns relate a subordinate clause to the rest of the sentence. -that, which, who, whom, whichever, whoever, whomever
Demonstrative Pronouns Demonstrative pronouns emphasize specific/particular thing(s). Nearby: this, these Far away: that, those
Indefinite Pronouns Indefinite pronouns refer to something that is unspecified. Singular: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, something. Plural: both, few, many, several Singular or plural depending on context: all, any, most, some, none
Reflexive Pronouns • End in “self” or “selves” and emphasize the person/thing speaking or being spoken about Myself, yourself, ourselves, itself, themselves
Possessive Pronouns Possessive pronouns show ownership. Used before nouns: Singular: my, your, his, her, its Plural: our, your, their Used alone: Singular: mine, yours, his, hers Plural: ours, yours, theirs
Subject and Object Pronouns Subjects tell us whom or what the sentence is about: I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they Objects function as direct objects, indirect objects, and objects of prepositions: me, us, him, her, it, you, them
Make pronouns and antecedents agree A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun. Antecedents are the words (nouns or pronouns) to which they refer. Pronouns must agree in person and number to their antecedents. A pronoun must agree in person and number to its antecedent. The doctors made his rounds. : ( The doctors made her rounds. : ( The doctors made their rounds. : )
Do not use plural pronouns to refer to singular antecedents. A doctor must make their rounds before signing off on ward charts. A doctor….their : ( A doctor…its : ( A doctor…his or her (better) Doctors…their (best)
Watch out for Doozies: Indefinite Pronouns • Even though many indefinite pronouns seem to have plural meanings, treat them as singular in formal English: EX: Everyone performs his or her (not their) favorite piece for the recital.
Rules for Revision To avoid awkwardness, choose one of the following options for revision: • 1) Replace the plural pronoun with he or she (or his or her) • 2) Make the antecedent plural. • 3) Rewrite the sentence so no problem of agreement exists.
When someone chooses an undergraduate major, they need to report it to the Registrar. • When someone chooses…,he or she needs to… 2) When students choose…, they need to 3) Any student who chooses a major…needs to report it… (Note: subject verb agreement shifts!!!)
Rules for Writers says… Because the he or she construction is wordy, often the second or third revision strategy is more effective. Using he or his to refer to persons of either sex, while less wordy, is considered sexist, as is using she or her for all persons. Some writers alternate male and female pronouns through the text, but the result is often awkward. (RFW 208) (see 210) (and confusing! my addition)
Generic Nouns Represent a typical member of a group; may seem to be plural but are singular. Every skier must wear zinc oxide on their nose if they want to avoid sunburn during a long day on the slopes. Every (single) skier must wear zinc oxide on his or her nose if he or she wants to avoid sunburn… (Ugh! Too wordy!)
Skiers must wear zinc oxide on their noses (if they want) to avoid sunburn during a long day on the slopes.
Collective Nouns: Plural until Proven Otherwise Collective nouns such as jury, committee, team, class, troop, couple, family (etc) name a group that ordinarily functions as a unit. (e.g. The class goes on four trips a year.) If the members of the group are functioning as individuals, the noun should be treated as plural. The class voted its approval for classroom rules. The class (members) disagreed on whether their teacher should have a vote.
A Sleuth of Bears & a Murder of Crows Common collective nouns: army, array, bevy, cast, council, family, firm, faculty,gang, jury, majority, minority, party, plethora, public, school, senate, staff, team, troupe. Because of the storm, the fleet of shrimp boats were forced to run for the nearest harbor, where it found safety.
Because of the storm, the fleet of shrimp boats was forced to run for the nearest harbor, where it found safety.
Additional Homework Practice: 22-1 – Editing to avoid problems with pronoun-antecedent agreement 22-2 –Editing to avoid problems with pronoun-antecedent agreement and sexist language.
“Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…” – Gilda Radner
Ambiguous Pronouns Pronouns take the place of nouns. DUH! Pronouns must agree in number and gender antecedent. Each student will secure his personal items in a locker. Each student will secure their personal items in a locker. All students will secure their personal items in a locker. When in doubt, pluralize the antecedent and go with THEIR. His? Her? One’s?
Ambiguous Pronouns "The virus that causes the common cold is always evolving, and it is doubtful whether they will ever be able to find a reliable drug to combat it." WHO ARE “THEY”? Doctors? My Great Aunt Sally and her talking dog? Scientists?
The virus that causes the common cold is always evolving, and it is doubtful whether doctors and scientists will ever be able to find a reliable drug to combat it.
In the 1992 novel When Nietzsche Wept, a youthful Sigmund Freud is portrayed as having stolen Friedrich Nietzsche’s lover and muse, Lou Salome. Soon thereafter, he slips into madness.
In the 1992 novel When Nietzsche Wept, a youthful Sigmund Freud is portrayed as having stolen Friedrich Nietzsche’s lover and muse, Lou Salome. Soon thereafter, Nietzsche slips into madness.