Pronouns Are not nouns Used in place of nouns The word that a pronoun substitutes for is an antecedent. Pronouns we will discuss: personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, indefinite pronouns, and, to a lesser extent, interrogative pronouns (Read about them!) Pronoun reference error: when antecedent is unclear o John and his friend went shopping at the mall, and he bought a suit. (Who bought the suit?) o A clearer sentence would be: “John went shopping at the mall along with his friend and bought a suit.” Or “John and his friend went shopping at the mall, and the friend bought a suit.” Or “John went shopping at the mall along with his friend, who bought a suit.” Pronoun agreement error: when pronouns are fundamentally different than the antecedent o Each student was asked to bring their completed medical form for the school trip. o A corrected version of the sentence: “Each student was asked to bring his or her completed medical form for the school trip.” Or “Students were asked to bring their completed medical forms for the school trip.” Pronoun case error: when the pronoun functions in the wrong way o Example: My mother and me traveled across country to see my grandfather before he died. (This sentence should use “my mother and I,” not “my mother and me.”) Case: subjective, objective, possessive, reflexive o Subject case: I, we, they, he, she, it, you o Object case: me, us, them, him, her, it, you o Possessive (adjective) case: my/mine, our/ours, their/theirs, his, her/hers, its, your/yours o Reflexive: myself, ourselves, themselves, himself, herself, itself, yourself/yourselves I (subjective) travel a lot. He (subjective) dances very well. He (subjective) gave the trophy to me (objective) when I won the tournament. She (subjective) asked me (objective) a question. I (subjective) answered her (objective). Joan asked her (possessive) brother to fix her (possessive) car and park it (objective) in her (possessive) neighbor’s driveway. “Momma, I (subjective) did it (objective) myself (reflexive).” Melissa and he (subjective) ate their (possessive) supper, paid the bill, left the restaurant and went on our (possessive) way. He (subjective) asked me to keep Joan’s secret between us (objective) / him (objective) and me (objective). He (subjective) slept through his (possessive/adjective) algebra class and didn’t take any notes. When they (subjective) went to the lake, the boat wouldn’t start because it (subjective) didn’t have any gas. My (possessive/adjective) friend hurt himself (reflexive) by running and tripping on the curb. My friend hit himself on the shoulder when the barbell he was holding slipped from his hands. I love my kids even though they make me mad at times. My mother went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for her special cake, but it didn’t have any in stock. My mother went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for her special cake, but they weren’t available. Whenever my dog sees itself in a mirror, it barks like crazy. Whenever my dog sees herself in a mirror, she barks like crazy. My friend is planning a going-away party for Lisa, Melissa, and me . Some people learn from their mistakes, and some individuals just repeat them. o Seeming Exceptions (But not really): These exceptions involve “understood” or “implied” elements of sentences Similar to implied subjects in imperative sentences (“(You) Go brush your teeth.” Or “Please (you) call your mom.”) Comparisons use the subject case: He is taller than I (am tall). Nobody sings as well as she (sings). He runs faster than I (run). Nobody is as good as she (is good). My friend is smarter than I (am smart). He is way more awesome than I (am awesome). He is more intelligent than they/others (are intelligent). Sometimes, it depends on meaning whether you use subject or object case. (Probably better to write out the implied elements than risk being unclear. You trust Mr. Aton more than (you trust) me. You trust Mr. Aton more than I (trust Mr. Aton). I have more fear of him than you. (Here, the meaning is unclear.) o Clearer: I have more fear of him than you do. (Meaning is clear) o Clearer: I have more fear of him than I have of you. (Meaning is clear). I believe her more than him. (Here, the meaning is unclear.) o Clearer: I believe her more than I believe him. (Meaning is clear) o Clearer: I believe her more than he believes her. (Meaning is clear). Answering the phone: This is she. This is he. This is I. All predicate pronouns that go with the linking verbs. Predicate pronouns are often called subject complements, which is a good name for them because they use subject case pronouns. o Demonstrative pronouns: this, that, these, those Demonstrative pronouns serve as adjectives. This sweater, those doughnuts, that man, these days This will be on the exam. (wrong) This information will be on the exam. (correct) This material will be on the exam. (correct) This formula will be on the exam. (correct) (You) Go get me that can of Coca-Cola. (You) Go find me these candy bars. These people are driving me crazy. Those cans of juice contain ample vitamins. Those girls make me sick. Those girls make me sick with all the silly tricks they play on my brother and me, and I just wish they would be more like our male cousins, who are always fun. Personal pronouns: various forms (cases) of I, he, she, they, we you, and it Indefinite pronoun: several, couple, few, one, two, any, some, one, everyone, everybody, anybody, someone, somebody else, anyone else, others, who, and so forth o Indefinite pronouns often function as subjects and also other noun functions, but the same words can function as adjectives. When they function as nouns, they often work in conjunction with a prepositional phrase; when they function as adjectives, they are usually directly in front of the noun they modify. Some (indefinite pronoun as subject) of the children were playing in the sandbox. Some (indefinite pronoun as adjective) children (noun as subject) were playing in the sandbox. The teacher gave a treat to each (indefinite pronoun as object of the preposition) of the children at recess. The teacher gave a treat to each (indefinite pronoun as adjective child at recess. Anybody (indefinite pronoun as subject) can come to the party who wants to. One (indefinite pronoun as subject) of the students received an award. One (indefinite pronoun as subject) received an award. Several (indefinite pronoun as an adjective) people like to go to the park to exercise. Some (indefinite pronoun as subject) of the children on my street were playing soccer. Everyone (indefinite pronoun as a subject) that played football enjoyed themselves (reflexive), but several (indefinite pronoun as an adjective) people got hurt.
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