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Grammar Boot Camp #5: Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Case

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Kaley Keene

on 25 February 2016

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Transcript of Grammar Boot Camp #5: Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Case

Grammar Boot Camp #5: Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Case
Comparisons
Let's look at two sentences.

Cynthia loves her daughter more than I.

Cynthia loves her daughter more than me.

Both are grammatically correct, but both have different meanings.
Reflexive/Intensive Case
These pronouns are used only to reflect or intensify the action of the subject of a clause.

For example,

She dyed her hair
herself.
I can make my way in this world
myself.
He wrote that essay
himself.
They made that mess
themselves.
You can clean up this mess
yourselves
. (plural "you" in this case)
You can pay that bill
yourself
.
It is stronger by
itself
.

Pronoun Case
Consider these sentences.
Subjective Case Objective Case Possessive Case Reflexive/Intensive Case
Subjective and Objective Case
I see this mistake happen very often, so let's address it with the use of the sentences below.
Possessive Case
Often times, student writers use "it's" and "its" either interchangeably or incorrectly.

contraction for "it is" = it's; possessive case of "it" = its
By SL. Kaley Keene
She loves children. Children do not love her.
In the first sentence, we use "she" because "she" is the subject of the sentence; however, in the second sentence we use "her" because there is no verb for "her" to latch on to. In the second sentence, "Children" are the subjects and "her" is the object.
Pronoun case is recognizing that pronouns must change their form based upon what function they play in a sentence.
I
You
He
She
It
We
They
Who
Me
You
Him
Her
It
Us
Them
Whom
My, Mine
Your, Yours
His
Her, Hers
Its
Our, Ours
Their, Theirs
Whose
Myself
Yourself, Yourselves
Himself
Herself
Itself
Ourselves
Themselves

This chart shows you how to figure out which pronoun to use depending on the structure of your sentence.
Compound Subjects

When to use "I" vs. "me".
You would never say "
Me
went to the store." Why? Because "me" can never be a subject of a sentence. You'd say "
I
went to the store." Same with "My friend sent
I
to the store." You'd say "My friend sent
me
to the store." because "Cynthia" is the subject of that sentence, not "I".

Elliot and
me
went to the movies yesterday. - This is incorrect- Why? Because "me" can only be used as an object, and this sentence is attempting to use it as a subject. Let's try again.

Elliot and
I
went to the movies yesterday. -Correct-

Now, what happens when we do this...

Cynthia sent Elliot and
I
to the store. -Incorrect use of "I"- Why? Because "I" can only be used as a subject and this sentence is attempting to use it as an object.

Cynthia sent Elliot and
me
to the store. -Correct!-
1st sentence: In English, we can sometimes omit implied verbs. In this sentence, the verb "am" is omitted; therefore, this sentence truly means that Cynthia has more love for her daughter than I do.
2nd sentence: "Me" is an object, so in this case, Cynthia has more love for her daughter than she does for me.
Him and I are going to the movies. -Incorrect- Why? Because "Him" cannot be a subject.

He and I are going to the movies. -Correct-

Him is going to the movies. -Incorrect-

He is going to the movies. -Correct-

The dog bit me and him! -Correct- Why? Because in this case, "him" is acting as an object, along with "me", creating compound objects in this sentence.
For example,

The insect picks up breadcrumbs to bring back to its family. - possessive

It's (it is) going to rain today. - contraction
Who vs. Whom
Look at your chart from the third slide or on your handout. "Whom" falls under Objective Case and "who" falls under Subjective Case. One really simple way to remember how to use "who" vs. "who
M
" is that "M".
If you can replace the pronoun with "hi
M
/her", use "who
M
". If you can replace the pronoun with "he/she", use "who".
For example,
To whom are you referring? To
him or her
?
For whom is this gift? For
him or her
?

Tabitha
, who eats a lot, needs to work out. Who eats a lot?
She
does.
Pronoun Agreement
Pronouns must agree in number and in person (1st, 2nd, or 3rd)
The
men
took
their
wives out to eat. -Correct-
A student
must study in order to pass
his/her
exams.- Correct-
A student
must study hard to pass
their
exams. -Incorrect-

I
love going to the beach at night because
you
can hear the loud crashing of the waves against the shore. -Incorrect-

I
love going to the beach at night because
I
can hear the loud crashing of the waves against the shore. - Correct-
Pronoun Reference
Writers have to be careful to not confuse their readers. Pronouns can replace thousands of nouns, so the writer must be very certain that the reader can tell exactly which noun or nouns are being replaced. The problem is that sometimes the antecedent (the noun being replaced) isn't clear or there isn't one at all.
Examples
Amy told Bernadette
that
her
boyfriend is annoying. -Whose boyfriend is annoying? From this, we can't be sure-

Corrected:
Amy's
boyfriend is annoying, and
she
told Bernadette.

Our Earth is dying.
They
should do something to preserve our planet! -Who is "they"?-

Corrected: Our Earth is dying.
The US government
should do something to preserve our planet!
It
makes me so happy when my cat licks my nose.
-Where is the antecedent?-

Corrected: My cat licking my nose makes me so happy.
-Don't use an ambiguous "it"-
Correct use of "it":
That essay
was so great that I shared
it
with my colleagues.
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