Pronoun Reference (Skill 23)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Previous Skill: Possessive (Skill 22)

After you have checked that the subject and object pronouns and the possessives are used correctly, you should also check each of these pronouns and possessives for agreement. The following are examples of errors of this type that you might find on the TOEFL test.

The cookies are for you, so please take it*.

Each person has to sign their* application form.

Analysis:
  • In the first example, the singular pronoun it is incorrect because it refers to the plural noun cookies. This pronoun should be replaced with the plural pronoun them.
  • In the second example, the plural possessive adjective their is incorrect because it refers to the singular each person. This adjective should be replaced with the singular his or her.
    The following chart outlines what you should remember about checking pronoun reference.


    EXERCISE 23: Each of the following sentences contains at least one pronoun or possessive. Circle the pronouns and possessives. Draw arrows to the nouns they refer to. Then indicate if the sentences are correct (C) or incorrect (I).

    1. If my friend calls, please tell them that I will return the call. (I)

        Analysis:
    • The pronoun them is in correct because it refers to my friend.
    • The pronoun them should be replaced by him or her.
    2. I don’t like the idea because it is too costly. (C)

        Analysis:
    • The subject pronoun it is correct because it refers to singular noun the idea.
     3. The tables at the restaurant are so large that it can seat 12 people. (I)

          Analysis:
    • The subject pronoun it is incorrect because it refers to plural object the tables.
    • The subject pronoun it should be replaced by they.
     4. The soup needs more salt because he does not taste very good. (I)

         Analysis:
    • The subject pronoun he is incorrect because it refers to the soup.
    • The subject pronoun he should be replaced by it.
    5. The girls ran too fast, and she fell down. (I)

        Analysis:
    • The subject pronoun she is incorrect because it refers to plural noun the girls.
    • The subject pronoun she should be replaced by they.
    6. In the autumn, the tree lost its leaves. (C)

        Analysis:
    • The possessive pronoun its is correct because it refers to singular noun the tree.
    7. The windows were open, so I closed it. (I)

        Analysis:
    • The object pronoun it is incorrect because it refers to plural noun the windows.
    • The object pronoun it should be replaced by them.
    8. The travelers lost their way in the storm. (C)

         Analysis:
    • The possessive pronoun their is correct because it refers to the travelers.
    9. The boy got the box, and he opened it carefully. (C)

        Analysis:
    • The subject pronoun he is correct because it refers to singular noun The boy.
    10. The woman left their earrings at home, so she wasn’t wearing them. (I)

         Analysis:
    • Possessive pronoun their is incorrect because it refers to singular noun The woman.
    • Possessive pronoun their should be replaced by her.
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    Next Skill 24: Adjective and Adverbs



    1 comments:

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