Pronouns are used to replace nouns in a sentence.
There are several types of pronouns that you need to be able to recognize – personal, possessive, and indefinite.
first: I, me, my mine, myself
second: you, your, yours, yourself
third: it, he, she, its, his, her, hers, itself, himself, herself
first: we, us, our, ours
second: you, your, yours, yourselves
third: they, them, their, theirs, themselves
- any pronoun ending in –one, -body, -other, or –thing
- each (of)
- either (of)
- much (of)
- neither (of)
May be singular or plural
These are groups that act as a unit, and they are singular. The ONLY pronouns that you use with collective nouns are “it” and “its.”
audience company group
class crowd jury
college family society
committee government team
All of this is important to know so that you can use the correct pronoun to refer to a noun or an indefinite pronoun. That’s called pronoun-antecedent agreement.
Antecedent – the word the pronoun refers to
Pronoun-antecedent agreement – making sure the antecedent and pronoun(s) agree in number
- a singular noun/singular indefinite pronoun needs singular pronouns
- a plural noun/plural indefinite pronoun needs plural pronouns
The people in this room all have their heads down and are looking at their phones.
- antecedent – people
- pronouns referring to the antecedent – their, their
Someone who lives in your dorm has left his computer in the library.
- antecedent – someone (indefinite pronoun that is ALWAYS SINGULAR)
- pronouns referring to the antecedent – his
The jury returned its verdict after it discussed the case for three hours.
- antecedent – jury (collective noun that is ALWAYS SINGULAR)
- pronouns referring to the antecedent – its, it