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LECTURE 8. PRONOUNS. Teaching Contents. 8.1 Pronoun concord in number 8.2 Pronoun concord in gender 8.3 Pronoun concord in person. Pronouns are a varied closed-class words with nominal function. English has a developed pronoun system, comprising:

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  2. Teaching Contents • 8.1 Pronoun concord in number • 8.2 Pronoun concord in gender • 8.3 Pronoun concord in person

  3. Pronouns are a varied closed-class words with nominal function. • English has a developed pronoun system, comprising: • 1.personal pronouns 2.possessive pronouns 3.reflexive pronouns 4.reciprocal pronouns 5.demonstrative pronouns 6.interrogative pronouns 7.relative pronouns 8.indefinite pronouns

  4. 8.1 Pronoun concord in number • Personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, and corresponding determiners have their singular and plural forms. • The number contrast of pronouns differs from that of nouns in that pronoun number contrast is morphologically unrelated, as in I/we, he/they, as opposed to the typical regular formation of noun plurals:boy/boys. • The choice of pronoun number forms is generally determined by the number of its antecedent, that is, a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.---They haven’t yet made up their own mind.

  5. 1) Pronoun concord with every-, some-, any-compounds as antecedent: everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, anyone, anybody, no one, nobody, take the singular form (grammatical) ---Everybody looked after himself. ---Nobody wants to go there, does he? • In informal style, the plural form, esp.everyone or everybody: ---Everybody knows what they have to do. • everything, something, anything, nothing: singular ---Everything is ready, isn’t?

  6. 2) Pronoun concord with coordinate construction as antecedent (notional concord) ---I bought bread and butter at the shop, and they cost 50c. ---She likes bread and butter, but this is too thick. 3) Pronoun concord with collective noun as antecedent (notional concord) ---The government is doing its best to boost production. ---The government have discussed the matter for a long time but they have shown no sign of reaching an agreement.

  7. 4) Pronoun concord with “plural noun / pronoun + each” as antecedent The choice of the number forms of the pronoun and corresponding determiner depends on the position of the appositive “each”: before the verb---plural form; after the verb--- singular form ---We each are accountable for our own families. ---We are each responsible for his own family.

  8. 8.2 Pronoun concord in gender • Gender is a grammatical category. It is a set of grammatical forms of nouns, determiners and adjectives that tell of the distinctions of sex. • English nouns have four genders: masculine (man), feminine (woman), neutral (book) and common (student). • But we do not mean any overt grammatical forms that show the distinctions of sex, but the differences of natural sex denoted by the lexical meaning of nouns.

  9. 1) Pronoun concord with male / female noun as antecedent ---When Paul met Mary, he asked her to go to town. 2) Pronoun concord with common gender noun as antecedent • Some common gender nouns, such as doctor, teacher, engineer, lawyer, parent, student…… they can either be male or female. • When they are used in the singular for generic reference, these nouns are generally referred to as HE, a kind of practice that is opposed by feminists. ---If a person breaks the law, he will be punished.

  10. ---The parent of a teenage child often wonders where he went wrong. ---Parents of teenage children often wonder where they went wrong. (plural form) --- When a customer calls, ask him to leave his phone number. --- When a customer calls, be sure to ask for a phone number. (No pronoun or determiner is used.) • In formal writing as in legal documents, “he or she”, “his or her” can also be used. --- The parent of a teenage child often wonders where he or she went wrong.

  11. (2) Some common gender nouns such as baby, infant, and child are intermediate between personal and non-personal. When the speaker does not know , or is not interested in the sex of the baby or infant, he may use the neutral IT: --- The baby was sleeping in its cot. But if the speaker is the baby’s mother, she is unlikely to refer to her baby as IT: ---Watch out! The baby is trying to put the toy watch into hismouth.

  12. 3) Pronoun concord with neutral gender noun as antecedent • When the antecedent is a singular noun of neutral gender, a noun denoting an inanimate or non-personal object, the neutral pronoun or the corresponding determiner is generally used.(it / itself / its) ---That book has lost its cover. I will put a new one on it. (2) Just as a baby may be designated it, so a number of nonhuman species may be designated he or she.( car, ship) ---The car needs some petrol. Let’s fill her / him up at the next garage.

  13. (3) When the antecedent is an animal noun, it is generally referred to as it in nonexpert contexts. If the anima is spoken of with emotion or is personified, it may be referred to as he or she. --- The cat is a useful animal because it eats rats. --- The cat leaped onto my bed and coiled herself there. • This is also true of the names of celestial bodies or abstract ideas: sun, moon, earth, nature, history, war, death ---The sun is shining in all his splendid beauty. --- Nature, the greatest artist, makes her common flowers in the common view.

  14. (4) Names of countries may be treated either as feminine or neutral. • When used as geographical units, they are treated as inanimate and therefore neutral: ---China is in East Asia. It is one of the largest countries in the world. • If used as political or economic units, the names of countries are often feminine,she or her is generally used: ---China has a history of over 5000 years. She is proud of her culture.

  15. 8.3 Pronoun concord in person By pronoun concord in person, we mean two things: • Pronoun concord in person on sentential level In a sentence, the person of a pronoun is determined by the person of its antecedent. ---My brother has sold his car. • If the antecedent is a coordinate construction containing a first or second person pronoun, the referring pronoun should be first and second person in plural number. ---My friend and I are reading the manuscript. We’ll be through in half an hour. ---You and the accountant are familiar with him. You can both see him.

  16. 2) Pronoun concord in person on textual level In a text pronouns should be consistent in person from beginning to end. This is a matter of speaking or writing from what point of view, from the speaker’s or writer’s point of view or from that of a third party. A consistent point of view is a guarantee of clarity in writing.

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