We Go Together: Pronouns and Person

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13657

You've probably heard of subject-verb agreement. Pronouns and person agreement are similar. It's the matching up of what you're talking about in a sentence. Find out more!

categories

Grammar, Reading

subject
English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Many people prefer when things match, like the decorations in their homes or their clothes.

This sort of matching means that the items go together and the qualities or characteristics of one thing are the same, or similar to, another. For example, they might use the same colors or have a similar style.

human dog matching outfit

  • What is something that you like to have match?
  • Or, if you prefer not to match, what is something that you choose not to have matching?

The English language loves to match, too!

  • What does that even mean?

Keep reading to find out!

In this lesson, you will learn how to have agreement in pronoun number and person and will practice correcting inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.

This is important because it will make your sentences grammatically correct and, therefore, allow better communication with others.

  • So, how does the English language like to match?

It is simple! The many grammar rules in English prefer to match, too!

  • How can something that is grammatical match?

Well, in lots of ways, but this lesson will focus on one way: how pronoun number and person can "match" or go together.

Before getting started on matching, let's first review a few important terms. First up, we have pronouns. Remember that pronouns replace, or take the place of, nouns.

Watch Pronoun Lesson for High School - Time4Writing.com for lots of examples of pronouns:

Next on our docket, let's review singular vs. plural.

To put it simply:

puppies

  • Easy enough?

Okay, so you're ready for the focal point of this lesson.

Get started with this great explanation of Pronoun Number from Lackawanna College Writing Center:

  • What should you take away from this video?

You should never have a shift in number, which refers to the count used in nouns or pronouns.

Basically, if what you're talking about is singular, then any pronoun that is also talking about the same thing must be singular, too.

The puppy is excited. He loves dinner time!

If what you're talking about (or the subject) is plural, then any pronoun that is used to talk about that same thing must also be plural.

The puppies are ready. They love to play!

Also, you should never have a shift in person, which refers to the relationships between the people about whom you are talking. In other words, there should be a distinction between the speaker and the person or people being spoken to.

The three main distinctions are:

first person (I, me, my)

second person (you, your)

third person (he, she, it)

You need to be consistent in terms of person.

For example, if what you are talking about is in first person, the pronoun that you choose to use also needs to be in first person. It needs to match!

Let's look at some examples:

 

Correct

No Shift in Number

Incorrect

Shift in Number

   
  • If you do your homework, you will find that you like school.
 
  • If you do your homework, most people will find that they like school.
   
  • If people do their homework, they will find that they like school.
 

 

The correct sentences can either be talking about you (one or more readers) or people in general.

The incorrect example is about most people, which is a third-person, plural noun phrase. However, it combines the word you which is second-person, singular or plural and most people which again is a third-person, plural noun. Those don't match up or agree!

 

Correct

No Shift in Person

Incorrect

Shift in Person

   
  • Brooke gave me the book. She said it was great.
 
  • Brooke gave me the book. You said it was great.

 

The correct example is talking about Brooke. Brooke is in third-person, so that noun must be replaced by the third-person pronoun she to continue talking about her.

Although both sentences are grammatically correct in the incorrect example, changing the pronoun to you totally changes the meaning of what you are trying to say. It shifts to the second-person pronoun you which is an incorrect shift in pronoun due to person.

  • This sounds like common sense, right?

You'd be surprised at how often there are inappropriate shifts, or mistakes, with this though! It's really easy to mix up if you're not being extra aware.

Just to be sure, watch this great Pronoun Agreement Errors: Celebrity Grammar with Kanye West! video from SupertutorTV:

While working with sentences that include pronouns, you might also come across possessive adjectives.

Possessive adjectives are words like:

my

your

our

his

her

its

their

To be used correctly, these words must appear before the nouns they describe.

Sally reviewed Ed's essay. She really enjoyed his writing.

You will also encounter possessive pronouns such as:

mine

yours

ours

his

hers

theirs

These are similar to possessive adjectives; however, they can be used alone.

The Sandersons have a huge house. It is much bigger than ours.

  • Are you ready for more examples and practice?

I know the next section will totally help with your understanding! Click through to the Got It? section!

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