Pronouns and Antecedents
A pronoun is used in place of a noun. The noun in question is called an antecedent. In most cases, the antecedent will come before the pronoun, either in that sentence or in a previous sentence. For instance, in the sentence Dave took his dog for a walk, the pronoun is his and the antecedent is Dave.
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, gender, and person. In other words, a singular antecedent requires a singular noun, a masculine antecedent requires a masculine pronoun, a first-person antecedent requires a first-person pronoun, and so on.
Agreement between pronouns and antecedents is more difficult when the antecedent is an indefinite pronoun like somebody or several. We have provided a list below of the common indefinite pronouns, grouped by number:
- Singular: anybody, anyone, anything, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, much, neither, nobody, no one, nothing, one, somebody, someone, something
- Plural: both, few, many, several