Singular Pronouns

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What is a pronoun?

A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. In other words, the noun and pronoun are interchangeable. The noun that is to be replaced is known as the antecedent. There are many different types of pronouns used in our language. These are known as personal, possessive, intensive, reflexive and relative, interrogative and demonstrative pronouns.

Incorrect: He sat on the man’s lap like it wanted a drink.

Correct: The dummy sat on the man’s lap as if it was waiting for a drink.

What is the difference between a plural and singular pronoun?

To make it clear and simple, if you are using a singular noun, (‘he,’ ‘everyone,’ or ‘somebody’), the pronoun must also take the singular form. You cannot switch between the two. Doing this causes confusion within your writing and to the reader.

Incorrect: I wondered if he was aware he was not a very good ventriloquist.

Correct: I wondered if the man was aware that he was not a very good ventriloquist.

How to use a possessive pronoun

The possessive pronoun does what it implies, which is show possession. To form the possessive case, singular nouns add the apostrophe before the ‘s’. For a plural noun that ends in ‘s’, just add the apostrophe after the ‘s’.

Incorrect: The mans’ throat could be seen moving as he tried to throw his voice.

Correct: The man’s throat was seen moving as he tried to throw his voice.

Making it clear

It is simple to verify if you have used the correct pronoun with just one rule. Replace the noun with the chosen pronoun, and the sentence should remain perfectly clear in content. If there is confusion when reading the sentence or passage, the pronoun is incorrect.

Incorrect: He wondered if everyone could tell he was not really talking.

Correct: The man wondered if everyone could tell it was not he who was talking.