As you read the following passage, identify all of the pronouns, as well as what type of pronoun each is. Remember, there are four types of pronouns we learned about: personal, demonstrative, indefinite, and relative pronouns.
(1) Louis Charles Joseph Blériot (1872–1936) was a French aviator, inventor, and engineer. (2) In 1909, he became world famous for making the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier than air aircraft, winning a prize of £1,000 offered by the Daily Mail newspaper. (3) The prize was widely seen as a way to gain cheap publicity when it was first announced by the paper—no one thought this feat could actually be accomplished. (4) The Paris newspaper Le Matin commented that there was no chance of the prize being won. (5) Blériot would prove everyone wrong.
- There are no pronouns in this sentence.
- This sentence contains the personal pronoun he. He is a singular, subject case, masculine third-person pronoun.
- This sentence has two pronouns: it, no one, and that.
- It is a singular, subject case, neutral third-person pronoun.
- No one is an indefinite pronoun.
- This is a demonstrative pronoun; in this instance it’s being used like an adjective.
- This sentence contains the relative pronoun that; it connects commented to the statement made by Le Matin.
- This sentence contains the indefinite pronoun everyone.
Finding the Antecedent
Identify the antecedents and pronouns in the following examples:
- Somebody must have found my cell phone. He or she has been using up all my data!
- People asked Jorge to review their papers so often that he started a small editing business.
- He’s been talking for over two hours. This is unbearable.
- Henry called his parents every week.
- There are forty bracelets in this box. Are you telling me you made all of those?
- Somebody is the antecedent for He or she. The pronoun my doesn’t have an explicit antecedent, but it’s assumed that the speaker or writer is the antecedent for my.
- There are two pronoun/antecedent pairs in this sentence. People is the antecedent for their, and Jorge is the antecedent for he.
- The experience of him talking for over two hours is the antecedent for this.
- Henry is the antecedent for his.
- Forty bracelets is the antecedent for those.
Read the following passage, then re-write it using as many pronouns as possible, while still retaining clarity.
Marina and Marina’s twin sister Adriana often fought over small things. Marina frequently took Adriana’s clothes without asking and never returned them. Adriana always ate the last piece of dessert, even if Mariana had saved it for Mariana. However, Mariana always made sure Adriana knew about the sales at Adriana’s favorite stores, and Adriana baked Mariana’s favorite cookies at least once a month.
Marina and her twin sister Adriana often fought over small things. Marina frequently took Adriana’s clothes without asking and never returned them. Adriana always ate the last piece of dessert, even if Mariana had saved it for herself. However, Mariana always made sure Adriana knew about the sales at Adriana’s favorite stores, and Adriana baked Mariana’s favorite cookies at least once a month.
You could possibly say “Mariana made sure Adriana knew about the sales at her favorite stores,” but there is still room for misinterpretation, so saying “Adriana’s favorite stores” is more clear.