6 Common Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errorsby Weston Kincade on 10/26/13
All writers have undoubtedly encountered confusing sentences due to awkward pronoun-antecedent agreement. What is pronoun-antecedent agreement? Let me explain.
Pronouns exist in just about every sentence longer than three words. A pronoun takes the place of a noun, enabling the writer to avoid redundancy. In addition, it sometimes also expresses possession. He, she, it, they, we, mine, his, hers, and a multitude of other words we all know and use are called pronouns.
Antecedents are the subjects (nouns) being referred to by the pronouns.
For simplicity’s sake, here is a basic example:
Taylor seated herself in front of the fire, wiggling her toes in the warmth.
There are two pronouns here, “herself,” and “her.” The English language would be quite annoying without pronouns because the same sentence would be written as:
Taylor seated Taylor in front of the fire, wiggling Taylor’s toes in the warmth.
Talk about something you do not want to read.
However, using pronouns properly so as to not confuse the reader is important. That’s why I’ve compiled examples of the most common pronoun-antecedent agreement errors I’ve encountered as a writer and editor. I hope they help.
Common Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors
1. Singular-Plural Inconsistency
2. Singular Indefinite Pronoun Inconsistency
3. Gender Inconsistency
4. Missing Antecedents
5. Ambiguous Antecedents
6. Pronoun-Antecedent Order