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Pronoun Reference and Other Pronoun Problems

MODULE #11

PRONOUN REFERENCE & OTHER PRONOUN PROBLEM

HINT SHEET

Some Indefinite Pronouns (EVERYONE, EVERYBODY, ANYONE, ANYBODY, SOMEONE, SOMEBODY, NO ONE, NOBODY, EACH) are singular in written English and require singular pronouns.

Everyone forgot HIS lunch.

Someone is playing HIS OR HER stereo too loud.

Each of the daughters has HER own apartment.

Because there is no singular pronoun that refers to both men and women and because a lot of HE OR SHEs can get awkward, you may want to avoid indefinite pronouns by using plural nouns or avoiding pronouns:

All of the students forgot THEIR lunches.

Someone is playing A stereo too loud.

WHO/WHOM

WHO and WHOEVER are used for subjects, subject complements, and appositives to these.

WHOM and WHOMEVER are used for direct objects, indirect objects, objects of prepositions, and appositives to these. Look at the word's use in the clause that it is in.

I don't know who called. (WHO is the subject of CALLED.)

To whom are you speaking? (WHOM is the object of the preposition TO.)

COMPARISONS--In comparisons, you may find the subject of an understood verb at the end of the sentence:

Arnie is taller than she. (Arnie is taller than she IS.)

POSSESSIVES--Use possessive forms before verbals.

We approved of HIS doing the exercises. (NOT him doing)

We applauded THEIR playing. (NOT them playing)

[It's not THEM we approve of, but THEIR PLAYING.]

STANDARD/NONSTANDARD--Use standard pronouns in written English:

USE STANDARD FORMS:

AVOID NONSTANDARD FORMS:

myself

ourselves

ourself

yourself

yourselves

hisself

himself

themselves

themself

herself

theirselves

itself

AGREEMENT--Make sure that pronouns agree with the nouns they stand for (their antecedents):

Madeleine buys her own clothes. (HER agrees with MADELEINE.)

Xerox pays its employees well. (ITS agrees with XEROX.)

FAULTY REFERENCE--Make it clear what word the pronoun stands for.

I rubbed Vicks all over my chest, and now it is gone.

(What's gone? my chest? the Vicks? or the unnamed cold?)