English 1A, 8AM Class
21 February 2011
Jimmy’s Pronoun Problems
Stewart Pidd Hates English contains the following information about pronouns; Pronouns function as replacement words for long phrases and nouns. Three common types of pronoun that give writers trouble are personal, possessive, and indefinite. Pronouns have different types: pronouns that do not refer to an person or a particular thing are indefinite pronouns; possessive pronouns show ownership; personal pronouns replace and object or a specific person. Pronouns can prevent unnecessary repetition. An antecedent is the noun that comes before or after the pronoun(s) that reference it (Pollitt and Baker 70-85).
Faulty pronoun agreement is a common writing error. In “Go Big or Go Home”, Jimmy Dent fails to make his pronouns agree with their antecedents.
Dent makes a pronoun/antecedent agreement error by the end of second paragraph. He says, “Hey, Stewie, when a skater dude goes to Ludville Pipe, they need to go big or go home”(1).
The singular antecedent “skater dude” does not agree with the plural pronoun “they”. To fix the sentence Dent needs to replace the plural pronoun “they” with a singular personal pronoun. The revised sentence will read, “ Hey, Stewie, when a skater dude goes to Ludville Pipe, he needs to go big or go home.”
... concerning the use of indefinite pronouns as antecedents and the pronoun antecedent agreement. The following indefinite pronouns are singular and need a ... that takes the place of a noun or another pronoun. Personal pronouns substitute for a certain thing or person and ... are classified by subjective, objective, and possessive: Subjective personal pronouns are the subject of the sentence and are: I, ...
On the third paragraph Dent makes another pronoun/ antecedent agreement error with an
indefinite pronoun. He states, “Nobody wants to put their relatives in a home”(2).
antecedent “Nobody” does not agree with the plural possessive pronoun “their” To fix the sentence Dent needs to replace the indefinite pronouns with a plural noun. The revised sentence will read, “In-laws don’t want to put their relatives in a home.”
Dent makes his last pronoun/antecedent agreement error using a collective noun. Dent writes, “On a good day the Dent clan will unite to make their relatives feel like chewed up gum”(2).
The singular antecedent “clan” does not agree with the plural possessive pronoun “their”, because even though “clan” is a collective word it is functioning as a unit, therefore it is a singular noun. To fix the sentence Dent needs to replace the plural pronoun “their” for a singular one. The revised sentence will read “On a good day the Dent clan will unite to make its relatives feel like chewed up gum.”
Untrained writers and speakers who make pronoun agreement errors should consider the wise words of Thomas Browne: “There is music wherever there is harmony, order or proportion.” Good writing is like good music. Having pronoun agreement helps a writer to avoid unnecessary repetition. Having harmony, order or proportion creates a well articulated and rich text. If writer always used those tools they would avoid redundancy on their papers.
Browne, Thomas. Attackthetext.com. Web. 21 Feb. 2011.
Dent, Jimmy. “Go Big or Go Home.” 28 Feb. 2010. Print.
Pollitt, Gary, and Craig Baker. Stewart Pidd Hates English. 2nd ed. Oceanside: Attack The Text Publishing, 2010. Print.