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Pronoun Antecedents

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Pronoun Antecedents                                                        

Common Core Language Standard 1

One of the problems that a developing writer faces when learning to write longer and more complicated sentences is the misuse of pronoun antecedents. Pronouns can be wonderful parts of speech in the hands of a skillful writer. Pronouns can produce variety and reduce repetitiveness, but they shouldn’t be used when they confuse the reader. Learning how to avoid the common pronoun antecedent problems is helpful. Learning how to write clear and specific pronoun antecedent relationships is essential.

Today’s grammar and usage lesson is on pronoun antecedents. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun and identifies its antecedent. An antecedent is the noun or pronoun that the pronoun refers to or re-names.

Now let’s read the grammar and usage lesson and study the examples.

A pronoun must clearly and specifically refer to just one noun or pronoun (the antecedent). Generally, the pronoun refers to the noun or pronoun immediately before the pronoun.

To avoid pronoun antecedent problems:

1. Keep pronouns close to their references or use synonyms.

2. Don’t have a pronoun refer to the object of a prepositional phrase. Example: The box of pencils was found in their place. Revision: The box of pencils was found in its place.

3. Don’t have a pronoun refer to a possessive antecedent. Example: Are theirs the best cookies? They certainly are. Revision: Are their cookies the best? They certainly are.

Now circle or highlight what is right and revise what is wrong according to grammar and usage lesson.

Practice: The dog’s dry food was in the bag. It was expensive. The food was also smelly.

Let’s check the Practice Answers.

Pennington Publishing's Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand) Grades 4-8 Programs

Grammar and Usage Practice Answers: The dog’s dry food was in the bag. The foodwas expensive. The food was also smelly.

Now let’s apply what we have learned. 

Writing Application: Write your own sentence using a clear and specific pronoun antecedent.

This writing opener is part of a comprehensive language conventions lesson from the Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Spelling, and Vocabulary (Teaching the Language Strand)  Grades 4‒8 programs. Complete descriptions, instructional scopes and sequences, introductory video, previews, and two-week test drives of the grade-level teacher guides and student workbooks are available here.

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