Pronoun antecedent agreement refers to the consistency between pronouns and their antecedents in terms of gender, number, and person. Failure to maintain agreement can lead to confusion and incorrect interpretation of the intended message. In this article, we`ll discuss an example of pronoun antecedent agreement to showcase its importance and how to properly apply it in writing.
Example: „Every student must submit their essay by Friday.”
In this sentence, the antecedent is „every student,” and the pronoun used is „their.” The issue with this sentence is that „every student” is singular, while „their” is a plural pronoun. This creates a lack of agreement between the antecedent and pronoun.
To correct this issue, we must choose a pronoun that agrees with the antecedent. In this case, we could use „his or her” or „their” with a rewritten sentence as follows:
„Every student must submit his or her essay by Friday.”
„Every student must submit their essay by Friday” is an example of singular they, where a plural pronoun is used to refer to a singular antecedent, which some people argue is grammatically incorrect. However, singular they has become widely accepted in modern English as a way to refer to nonbinary or gender-nonconforming individuals, and has historical usage as well.
It`s important to keep in mind that while singular they may be acceptable in some cases, it`s best to avoid it in situations where it could cause ambiguity or confusion. When in doubt, use a gender-neutral pronoun such as „their,” „them,” or „themselves.”
In conclusion, pronoun antecedent agreement is a crucial aspect of clear and effective writing. Choosing the appropriate pronoun that agrees with the antecedent ensures that the message is accurately conveyed to the reader. Keep in mind the rules of gender, number, and person agreement, and be aware of the context in which singular they is acceptable. By following these guidelines, writers can produce well-crafted, error-free content.