Understand What Pronouns Are
Pronouns replace nouns or other pronouns in a sentence so that you do not have to repeat them.
Sheryl got into
Sheryl’s her car.
I like Mario.
Mario He is a good dancer.
In most cases, a pronoun refers to a specific noun or pronoun mentioned nearby.
I picked up my new glasses. They are cool.
Here is a table to help you practice identifying pronouns:
PRACTICE 1 Identifying Pronouns
In each of the following sentences, underline the pronoun, underline the noun it refers to, and draw an arrow from the pronoun to the noun.
EXAMPLE: People can have a hard time seeing stars at night if they live in or near a big city.
1. Each night the stars fill the skies, but in many large cities they are impossible to see.
2. The huge amount of light coming from homes, businesses, and streets creates a type of pollution, and it makes seeing the stars diffi cult.
3. The average night sky has approximately 2,500 stars in it, and they can be seen with the human eye.
4. In many neighborhoods, however, only two hundred or three hundred stars can be spotted, while in a big city only about a dozen of them can be seen.
5. The International Dark Sky Association focuses on reducing light pollution as its main goal and has several recommendations.
6. Pointing lights down toward the ground instead of allowing them to shine up toward the sky is one suggestion.
7. To help battle light pollution, some cities and towns have passed laws limiting what lights they will allow.
8. Experts have been studying light pollution, and they have reported that it can affect many things, including wildlife and even human health.
9. Migrating birds sometimes fl y over brightly lit cities and, confused by the unnatural light, fl y in circles until they become exhausted.
10. Too much light has also been shown to be harmful to humans, and studies are being done to determine just how this overexposure affects them.
Check for Pronoun Agreement
A pronoun must agree with (match) the noun or pronoun it refers to in umber. It must be either singular (one) or plural (more than one). If a pronoun is singular, it must also match the noun or pronoun it refers to in gender (he, she, or it).
CONSISTENT Magda sold her old television set.
[Her agrees with Magda because both are singular and feminine.]
CONSISTENT The Wilsons sold their old television set.
[Their agrees with the Wilsons because both are plural.]
Watch out for singular, general nouns. If a noun is singular, the pronoun that refers to it must be singular as well.
INCONSISTENT Any student can tell you what their least favourite course is.
[Student is singular, but the pronoun their is plural.]
CONSISTENT Any student can tell you what his or her least favourite course is.
[Student is singular, and so are the pronouns his and her.]
To avoid using the awkward phrase his or her, make the subject plural when you can.
CONSISTENT Most students can tell you what their least favourite course is.