Exercise 5-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

Choose the correct pronoun from the following five sentences:

Question 1-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

When one sings in the choir, (one/you) should always control the volume so that no particular voice overwhelms the others.

one

Correct.

"One" is correct. The sentence starts out using the third person pronoun, "one," so it needs to maintain that point of view throughout. Note that if you could change both of the pronouns in the sentence to the second person point of view, "you," that would be correct as well.

"When one sings in the choir, one should always control the volume so that no particular voice overwhelms the others."

you

Incorrect.

"One" is correct. The sentence starts out using the third person pronoun, "one," so it needs to maintain that point of view throughout. Note that if you could change both of the pronouns in the sentence to the second person point of view, "you," that would be correct as well.

"When one sings in the choir, one should always control the volume so that no particular voice overwhelms the others."

 

Question 2-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

Although William Dean Howells was a famous author in the late nineteenth century, (she/he/it) is not very well known, or even heard of, today.

she

Incorrect.

"He" is correct. William Dean Howells is a man; you need to use the masculine singular pronoun "he."

"Although William Dean Howells was a famous author in the late nineteenth century, he is not very well known, or even heard of, today."

HE

Correct.

"He" is correct. William Dean Howells is a man; you need to use the masculine singular pronoun "he."

"Although William Dean Howells was a famous author in the late nineteenth century, he is not very well known, or even heard of, today."

 

it

Incorrect.

"He" is correct. William Dean Howells is a man; you need to use the masculine singular pronoun "he."

"Although William Dean Howells was a famous author in the late nineteenth century, he is not very well known, or even heard of, today."

 

Question 3-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

When a writer writes from personal experience, (he or she discovers/they discover) a great deal to say.

he or she discovers

Correct.

"He or she discovers" is correct. "A writer" is singular-- one writer. The singular pronouns are "he or she." To agree with a singular noun or pronoun, the verb usually ends in 's'.

"When a writer writes from personal experience, he or she discovers a great deal to say."

they discover

Incorrect.

"He or she discovers" is correct. "A writer" is singular-- one writer. The singular pronouns are "he or she." To agree with a singular noun or pronoun, the verb usually ends in 's'.

"When a writer writes from personal experience, he or she discovers a great deal to say."

 

Question 4-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

Peanut was the most unusual elephant; (he/she/it/they) had such large ears.

he

Incorrect.

"It" is correct here, since there's one elephant and we don't necessarily know its sex.

"Peanut was the most unusual elephant; it had such large ears."

SHE

Incorrect.

"It" is correct here, since there's one elephant and we don't necessarily know its sex.

"Peanut was the most unusual elephant; it had such large ears."

 

IT

Correct.

"It" is correct here, since there's one elephant and we don't necessarily know its sex.

"Peanut was the most unusual elephant; it had such large ears."

 

they

Incorrect.

"It" is correct here, since there's one elephant and we don't necessarily know its sex.

"Peanut was the most unusual elephant; it had such large ears."

 

Question 5-Pronoun Agreement with Other Pronouns

She knew that she was lost when (she/they) took that last left turn.

she

Correct.

The repetition of the word "she" indicates that there is just one person involved here, so "she" needs to be maintained throughout the sentence in order to have pronoun agreement in number. If other sentences indicated that there were other people traveling with the woman, then, in certain cases, "they" could be correct.

"She knew that she was lost when she took that last left turn."

they

Incorrect.

The repetition of the word "she" indicates that there is just one person involved here, so "she" needs to be maintained throughout the sentence in order to have pronoun agreement in number. If other sentences indicated that there were other people traveling with the woman, then, in certain cases, "they" could be correct.

"She knew that she was lost when she took that last left turn."

 

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