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This quiz will test your recognition of subject-verb agreement and pronoun

choice problems. Select one answer from the choices provided after each
sentence. The word you choose should correctly fill in the blank in the sentence.
1. Neither of us ________ able to predict the outcome of today's game.
2. Macaroni and cheese ________ my favorite dish.
3. At the foot of the mountain ________ two enormous vineyards, both owned
by the same woman.
4. A small percentage of the grain _______ ruined by the prolonged rain.
5. Most parents mistakenly think that mumps _______ been eliminated as a
childhood disease.
6. Our college should change _______ policy about withdrawals.
7. Coaches Espinoza and Calhoun coach different sports. Neither Espinoza
nor Calhoun scheduled ________ team for the gym this afternoon.
8. No one has offered to let us use _______ home for the department
his or her
9. If I ever find my glasses, I think I'll have ________ replaced.
10. General Motors will probably recall most of _________ four-wheel-drive

Usage - Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

A pronoun is a word used to stand for (or take the place of) a noun.

A word can refer to an earlier noun or pronoun in the sentence.


We do not talk or write this way. Automatically, we replace the noun Lincoln's with a
pronoun. More naturally, we say

The pronoun his refers back to President Lincoln. President Lincoln is

the ANTECEDENT for the pronoun his.

An antecedent is a word for which a pronoun stands. (ante = "before")

The pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.

Rule: A singular pronoun must replace a singular noun; a plural pronoun must replace a
plural noun.

Thus, the mechanics of the sentence above look like this:

Here are nine pronoun-antecedent agreement rules. These rules are related to the
rules found in subject-verb agreement.

1. A phrase or clause between the subject and verb does not change the number
of the antecedent.


2. Indefinite pronouns as antecedents

 Singular indefinite pronoun antecedents take singular pronoun referents.


 Plural indefinite pronoun antecedents require plural referents.

PLURAL: several, few, both, many


 Some indefinite pronouns that are modified by a prepositional phrase may be either
singular or plural.

EITHER SINGULAR OR PLURAL: some, any, none, all, most


Sugar is uncountable; therefore, the sentence has a singular referent


Jewelry is uncountable; therefore, the sentence has a singular referent


Marbles are countable; therefore, the sentence has a plural referent

Jewels are countable; therefore, the sentence has a plural referent


3. Compound subjects joined by and always take a plural referent.


4. With compound subjects joined by or/nor, the referent pronoun agrees with the
antecedent closer to the pronoun.

Example #1 (plural antecedent closer to pronoun):

Example #2 (singular antecedent closer to pronoun):

Note: Example #1, with the plural antecedent closer to the pronoun, creates a
smoother sentence
than example #2, which forces the use of the singular "his or her."

5. Collective Nouns (group, jury, crowd, team, etc.) may be singular or

plural, depending on meaning.

In this example, the jury is acting as one unit; therefore, the referent pronoun
is singular.

In this example, the jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore,
the referent
pronoun is plural.

In this example, the jury members are acting as twelve individuals; therefore,
the referent
pronoun is plural.
6. Titles of single entities. (books, organizations, countries, etc.) take a
singular referent.


7. Plural form subjects with a singular meaning take a singular referent. (news,
measles, mumps, physics, etc)


8. Every or Many a before a noun or a series of nouns requires a singular referent.

9. The number of vs A number of before a subject:

 The number of is singular.

 A number of is plural.

Pronouns and Antecedents

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun, or a group of nouns, in a sentence or

sentences. A pronoun should agree in number and gender with the noun or phrase it
refers to, which is known as the antecedent. Correct pronoun-antecedent agreement
is crucial to writing professionally.

A pronoun might have an antecedent from the previous sentence:

 Carolina hates cats. She has terrible allergies. [The pronoun she refers to the
antecedent Carolina.]

But pronouns and antecedents can also occur in the same sentence:

 Jim said he doesn’t like coffee. [The pronoun he refers to the antecedent Jim.]
 The twins helped by bringing their truck. [The pronoun their refers to the
antecedent twins.]
Quantity Agreement

“Singular” means “one of something,” whereas ” plural ” means “more than one.”
The singular pronouns include I, me, he, she, it, and more. Their antecedent will
always be singular: just one person or object.

 Jamil was not as hungry. He stayed at the office. [The singular

pronoun he refers to the antecedent Jamil.]

Examples of plural pronouns include we, us, they, and others. These pronouns must
have an antecedent that is more than one person or object.

 George, Omar, and Phil were starving for lunch. They went to a Chinese buffet.
[The plural pronoun they refers to the antecedent George, Omar, and Phil.]

One tricky exception is “you.” In English, the pronoun “you” is the same whether it is
singular or plural. Sometimes you can distinguish between the two by saying “you
all” if you are speaking to more than one person.

Gender Agreement

In some situations, pronouns need to be gender specific. The

pronouns he, his, and him are masculine, whereas she, her, and hers are feminine.

 Janice wanted to go to the mall. She wanted Scott to join her. He was not
interested in going to the mall. [The pronouns she and her refer to the
antecedent Janice. The pronoun he refers to the antecedent Scott.]
 My dog Franklin is very skittish. He doesn’t enjoy the dog park. [The
pronoun he refers to the antecedent Franklin.]

Gender-Neutral Pronouns

Gender-neutral pronouns include you, they, their, theirs, we, us, our, ours,
your, and yours. In the case where the gender of the antecedent is unknown, the
pronoun should be gender-neutral or avoided altogether.

For example, take the general statement, “A student should hand his papers in
promptly.” In this sentence, the word student does not indicate any gender, because
it’s just a general, anonymous student. Therefore, rather than saying “his papers,”
use one of the following:

 A student should hand papers in promptly. [Here, the gendered pronoun has
been dropped, but the sentence is still grammatically correct.]
 Students should hand their papers in promptly. [By making the antecedent
plural, you can use the gender-neutral plural pronoun their.]