Pronouns Must Agree with Their Antecedents in Number.
- A singular pronoun refers to a singular antecedent.
- A plural pronoun refers to a plural antecendent.
My dog Chester chews his tennis ball into tiny pieces.
- The singular possessive pronoun his agrees with the singular noun antecedent Chester.
The committee voted in haste and later regretted its decision.
- The singular pronoun its agrees with the singular noun antecedent committee. (The noun committee is an example of a collective noun--a singular noun which refers to a group that may have many members but is being referred to as a single entity. Other collective nouns are words like class, team, squad, and faculty.)
Many of the fans lost their voices during the final minutes of the exciting playoff game.
- The plural possesive pronoun their agrees with the plural noun fans.
One group of pronouns is especially troublesome. These pronouns, called indefinite pronouns, are always singular. These pronouns include everyone, anyone, nobody, everybody, and anybody.
Notice that the pronoun specifies everyone or someone, not "everytwo" or "sometwo." Look at the common pronoun error in this sentence:
I told everyone to bring their coats since the temperature is falling.
- The plural pronoun their does not agree with the singular indefinite pronoun antecedent everyone.
Correct the error either by making the antecedent plural or by
specifying both genders:
- I told all my friends to bring their coats . . .
- I told everyone to bring his or her coat . . . .