Online College Courses for Credit

Noun/ Pronouns

Noun/ Pronouns

Author: Philip Garza

Information for students to decifer which pronouns should accompany nouns when writing.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

314 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 26 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Noun Pronoun Agreement

A pronoun is a word that replaces and refers to a noun. It is used in exactly the same way as the noun it replaces.
Bill gave the book to Chris.
He gave the book to me.
There are four types of pronouns: subject pronouns, possessive pronouns, object pronouns, and reflexive pronouns.

Noun-Pronoun Agreement

Pronouns must always agree with their antecedents. These are the nouns or pronouns they refer to.
Yolanda and Gary both went to work, but she drove a car and he rode a bicycle.

In this example, she refers to Yolanda. Gary is the antecedent of he. Each pronoun has the same characteristics as its antecedent.
Masculine subject (Gary) = Masculine pronoun (he)
Feminine subject (Yolanda) = Feminine pronoun (she)

Singular subject (car) = Singular pronoun (it)
Plural subject (cars) = Plural subject (their)

Rules for singular and plural pronouns (watch out, there’s a lot of them!)

When a pronoun replaces two or more nouns joined by and, use the plural form of the pronoun
Leon and Bob rode their motorcycles through town.

When the pronoun replaces two nouns joined together by or, nor, either…or, neither…nor, or not only….but also, the pronoun agrees with the last noun in the series.
Not only the dogs but also the cat found its own food

When the pronoun replaces a collective noun, use a singular pronoun if the noun is thought of as a single unit. Use a plural pronoun if the noun is thought of as separate people or things.
The faculty is top-notch; its reputation is unmatched.
The staff are doing their paperwork now.

Because they represent an individual and not a group, use the singular form of the pronoun with the following words:
person neither someone somebody
each no one anyone anybody
either everyone nobody everybody

Each of the teammates got their medal at the closing ceremonies. (Incorrect—the plural pronoun their refers to each, which is singular. Remember singular nouns must match with singular pronouns.)

Each of the teammates got her medal at the closing ceremonies. (Correct!)