Grammar : Pronouns





A
Pronouns is word that is used in place of another noun in order to avoid inelegant repetition.

Example:

• Clinton said that Clinton was planning to go with Clinton’s brother to Clinton’s school.

This sentence is, although grammatically correct one, not preferred and is looking awkward.

In order to avoid the inelegant repetition of the same word (Noun-Clinton),'he' and 'his' can be used as follows.

• Clinton said that he was planning to go with his brother to his school.

By using 'he' and 'his', we have made the sentences an elegant one.

Singular Pronouns: I, you, he, she, it, each, everyone, one, me, him, his, her, this etc…

Plural Pronouns: They, both, few, those, these etc…

Pronouns which could be either singular or plural: Who, which, what, that etc…

The noun that a pronoun stands for is known as
antecedent.

Example:

• Joseph has gone to meet his friend.

In this sentence, the noun ‘Joseph’ is the antecedent for ‘his’.

The following rules must be strictly observed.


1. A Pronoun must be of its same number as its antecedent.

Example-1:

• A student who aims to get the first rank must invest a significant amount of their time and energy in hard work.

In this sentence, the word ‘their’ has been used whereas there is no antecedent for that in the sentence.

This sentence uses only a singular noun ‘a student’.

So the proper word that should be used to denote the singular noun is only ‘his’ or ‘her’.

The correct sentence is:

• A student who aims to get the first rank must invest a significant amount of his time and energy in hard work.

Example-2:

• Unlike their counterparts in other Western Countries, The American labor movement has never embraced revolutionary ideologies for the ultimate transformation of the economic order.

In this sentence, the pronoun ‘theirs’ has been used without any antecedent.
But the following sentence uses a singular noun ‘the American labor movement’.
So the proper word to be used here is only ‘its’.

The correct sentence is:

• Unlike its counterparts in other Western Countries, The American labor movement has never embraced revolutionary ideologies for the ultimate transformation of the economic order.


2. A Pronoun must be of the same gender as its antecedent:

Example-1:

• The batting team in cricket has eleven players, of which two will be at the crease at any moment.

In this sentence, the pronoun ‘which’ has been used whereas the Noun speaks about only players.
For this Noun, the word to be used is only ‘whom’.

The correct sentence is:

• The batting team in cricket has eleven players, of whom two will be at the crease at any moment.

Example-2:

• This university has twenty thousands students of which only a few hundreds belong to this state.

This sentence also has the same mistake which the previous one has.

The correct sentence is:

• This university has twenty thousands students of whom only a few hundreds belong to this state.


3. There must be no ambiguity regarding the antecedent of a pronoun:

Example-1:

• John asked Clinton to bring his cricket bat.

In this sentence, the word ‘his’ has been used. But it is not clear whose cricket-bat this sentence is talking about.

There is ambiguity in the uses of the pronoun.

In order to make the sentence unambiguous one, it is better to use the same noun.

The correct sentence is:

• John asked Clinton to bring Clinton’s cricket bat.

Example-2:

• My friend requested his father to tell his mother about his success in the university exams.

Here this sentence has the same mistake as the previous one.

The correct sentence is:

• My friend requested his father to tell his father’s mother about his success in the university exams.


4. A pronoun should not be used without an antecedent noun to it:

Example:

• I have studied well for TOEFL and it has given me the confidence that I will score more than 90%.

This sentence uses the word ‘it’ whereas there is no antecedent to that pronoun in the sentence.

The correct sentence is:

• The fact that I have studied well for TOEFL has given me confidence that I will score more than 90%.


5. There must be consistency in the use of indefinite pronoun ‘one’ in a sentence:

Example-1:

• If one looks at the clear sky away from the glare of the city, he can see not less that 3000 stars with his naked eyes.

In this sentence, the words ‘he’ and ‘his’ have been used whereas in the first part of the sentence the indefinite pronoun ‘one’ has been used.

This kind of inconsistency in the uses of indefinite pronoun ‘one’ will spoil the beauty of the sentence.

The correct sentence is:

• If one looks at the clear sky away from the glare of the city, one can see not less that 3000 stars with one’s naked eyes.
• If he looks at the clear sky away from the glare of the city, he can see not less that 3000 stars with his naked eyes.

Both these sentences are the correct forms.

Examples:

Incorrect:
• More than five thousand years ago, Chinese scholars accurately described the flow of blood as a continuous circle controlled by the heart. But it went unnoticed in the West.

Correct:
• More than five thousand years ago, Chinese scholars accurately described the flow of blood as a continuous circle controlled by the heart. But the discovery went unnoticed in the West.

Incorrect:
• India is a country with at least fifty major regional languages, of whom fourteen have official recognition.

Correct:
• India is a country with at least fifty major regional languages, of which fourteen have official recognition.

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