Pronouns are your friend. They save you from repeating the same words, subjects and nouns over and over. However, they do have rules that come with them. Often times when using pronouns correctly, you may feel like it “sounds weird.” You can just attribute this to all of the other regularly broken rules that make the “correct” way sound odd. When writing, whether academically or professionally, you should try and abide by the good ol’ rule book. The possessive pronouns seem to be the biggest untied shoelaces that trip up writers. Here is a recap….
Here is a small list of possessive pronouns: mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs (and if you are in Texas, y’alls… jk — not really)
You always want to have your pronoun agree with its referent (the noun or pronoun to which it is referring) in number and person (first, second or third).
Good use: If you want to impress your date, you want to look and smell your best for him (or her).
Bad use: If you want to impress your date, you want to look and smell your best for them.
(Now if you have two dates just pluralize the word “date” and impress them both.)
Good use: When a woman walks into the room, you should stand until she sits down.
Bad use: When a woman walks into the room, you should stand until they sit down.
(“She” is required since is reads “a woman” and not “women”.)
Now, these above do not usually confuse too many writers. However, these pronouns often do: anybody, anyone, each, either, everybody, everyone, neither, nobody, etc. Why you ask? Well, they confuse because they are singular. If you choose to utilize one of these pronouns, please ensure your referent is singular. It may “sound” odd, but it is correct.