What is an antecedent?
An antecedent is a person, place, thing or clause that is represented by a pronoun. Antecedents are used to clarify who or what a pronoun is referring to in a sentence or paragraph.
Fido has been standing at the door for five minutes and he needs to go outside.
The pronoun ‘he’ replaces the antecedent ‘Fido’ in this sentence. Pronouns, like he, keep you from repeating Fido in the same sentence.
Antecedents and their corresponding pronouns can also be found in separate sentences.
Frank planted green beans. These grow early in the season.
The pronoun ‘these’ replaces the antecedent ‘green beans’ in these two sentences.
Pronoun and antecedent agreement
A pronoun must agree with its antecedent. That means you must know the singular and plural pronoun forms.
The singular pronoun forms are:
he, she, it
him, her, it
his, her, hers, it
himself, herself, itself.
The plural pronoun forms are:
The rule for pronoun agreement is:
A singular antecedent requires a singular pronoun.
A plural antecedent requires a plural pronoun.
Pronoun agreement worksheets
In these worksheets, students practice identifying the antecedents a highlighted pronoun refers to.