Pronoun Antecedent Agreement and Examples

Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement and Examples: A Guide to Effective Communication

Pronouns are a vital component of language that help to avoid repetition and add clarity to our messages. However, to make sure our writing is effective, pronouns must be used correctly in conjunction with their antecedents. In this article, we will explore the concept of pronoun-antecedent agreement, what it entails, and some examples to help you understand it better.

What is Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement?

Pronoun-antecedent agreement refers to the grammatical rule that dictates that a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, gender, and person. An antecedent is a noun or pronoun that a pronoun refers to. Therefore, when using a pronoun, it must be clear what noun or pronoun it is replacing, to avoid confusion and miscommunication. This agreement is essential in ensuring clarity and effectiveness in communication.

Examples of Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

Here are examples of how pronouns can be effectively used in a sentence, in agreement with their antecedents:

Example 1:

Incorrect: Each student must submit their homework by Wednesday.

Correct: Each student must submit his or her homework by Wednesday.

In this example, the pronoun „their“ is plural and does not agree with its antecedent, „each student,“ which is singular. To correct the sentence, we use „his or her“ to agree with the singular antecedent.

Example 2:

Incorrect: A person should always be true to themselves.

Correct: A person should always be true to himself or herself.

In this instance, the pronoun „themselves“ is used in place of the singular antecedent „a person,“ creating an agreement error. To correct this, we use the phrase „himself or herself“ to agree with the singular antecedent.

Example 3:

Incorrect: When the team arrived, they were welcomed with open arms.

Correct: When the team arrived, it was welcomed with open arms.

In this example, the pronoun „they“ refers back to „the team,“ which is singular. To correct the mistake, we revise the sentence, changing „they“ to „it,“ to match the singular antecedent.


Pronoun-antecedent agreement is crucial when it comes to clarity and effective communication in writing. Always ensure there is a clear reference for your pronoun by establishing an antecedent, and then use the correct pronoun to match the antecedent in number, gender, and person. By following these simple rules, you can avoid confusion and misinterpretation in your writing.