What is a Pronoun? A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun. Now consider the following cases: Since a pronoun is used instead of a noun, it must be of the same number, gender, and person as the noun for which it stands. For example: Those beggars are idle. They refuse to work for their living. Please consider the following two sentences. After a few hearings, the jury gave its verdict. (Pronoun ‘its’ is used in place of noun ‘jury’). The jury was divided in their opinions. (Pronoun ‘their’ is used in place of noun ‘jury’) You must be wondering why different pronoun ‘its’ and ‘their’ is used in place of the same noun ‘jury’.
The reason is when a pronoun stands for a collective noun it must be in the singular number and neutral gender (Sentence 1). But when a collective noun conveys the idea of separate individuals comprising the whole, the pronoun standing for it must be of the plural number. In sentence 2, it is clear that members of the jury are not behaving as a whole. For example: The committee is reconsidering its decision. The committee decided the matter without leaving their seats. Pronoun Rules with Spotting Error Examples Pronouns in sentences found by conjunction When two or more singular nouns are joined by ‘and’, the pronoun used for them must be plural. For example: Rama and Hari work hard. Their teachers praise them. But when two singular nouns joined by ‘and’ refer to the same person or thing, the pronoun should be singular. For example: The Secretary and Treasurer is negligent of his duty. Here the same person is acting as Secretary and Treasurer. That’s why singular pronoun is used. When two singular nouns joined by ‘and’ are preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’, then the pronoun must be singular. For example: Every soldier and every sailor was in his place. When two or more singular nouns are joined by ‘or’, ‘either…or’, ‘neither…nor’, the pronoun is generally singular. For example:
Neither Abdul nor Rehman has done his lessons. Either Rama or Hari must help his friend. When a plural and a singular noun are joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’, the pronoun must be in the plural. For example: Either the manager or his assistants failed in their duty. When two things which have already been mentioned are referred to, ‘this’ refers to the thing last mentioned and ‘that’ to the thing first mentioned. For example: Alcohol and Tobacco are both injurious: this perhaps less than that. Rules regarding Personal Pronouns Which sentence is correct? The presents are for you and me. The presents are for you and I. Sentence 1 is correct. The pronoun has to agree with the case. Here it is the objective case. So, ‘me’ should be used instead of ‘I’. For example:
My uncle asked my brother and me for dinner. Which sentence is correct? He loves you more than I. He loves you more than me. Sentence 1 is correct ‘Than’ is a conjunction joining clauses. And the case of the pronoun to be used may be found by writing the clauses in full. So, in sentence 1, two clauses joined by ‘than’ are ‘He loves you more’ and ‘I love you’. Being a subjective case, ‘I’ should be used. For example: He is taller than I (am). He loves you more than (he loves) me. When a pronoun refers to more than one noun or pronouns of different persons, it must be of the first person plural in preference to the second and of the second person plural in preference to the third. For example: You and I, husband and wife, have to look after your home. (Incorrect) You and I, husband and wife, have to look after our home. (correct) Now, common sense tells us that if we are a couple, wife and husband, the feeling of togetherness is expressed by our home, not your home. And so does grammar rule: 123. 1 stands for first person,
2 for second person and 3 for third person. The order of precedence is: 1 before 2 and 2 before 3. In the given example, we have 2 and 1. So 1 will apply; that is, first person. The number, of course, will be plural. Let us take another example. You and Hari have done their duty, (Incorrect) You and Hari have done your duty. (correct) Applying 123 rules. You = 2 and Hari = 3. So, 2. Second person plural gives ‘your’. Similarly, when all the three persons are taken into account, it has to be I; that is, first person plural. For example: You, he and I have not forgotten your roots. (Incorrect) You, he and I have not forgotten our roots. (correct) Each, either and neither are always singular and are followed by the verb in the singular. For example:
Neither of the accusations is true. Each boy took his turn. Each of the lady performs her duty well. An apostrophe is never used in ‘its’, ‘yours’ and ‘theirs’. The complement of the verb be, when it is expressed by a pronoun should be in the nominative form. For example: It was he (not him), It is I (not me) that gave the prizes away. It might have been he (not him). The case of a pronoun following than or as is determined by mentally supplying the verb. For example: He is taller th