Pronouns : Definition and usage

All about Pronouns

A pronoun is used in place of a noun that has already been mentioned or that is already known, to help avoid repetition.

  • Pete was happy so he jumped for joy.
  • Alice took the dog with her to school.
  • Albert’s dinner looked much tastier than ours.
  • That is a silly thing to say.
  • Somethinghas to change.

One of the main issues that I have come across in children writing is the problem of the unassigned pronoun – that is, a pronoun usesd when it is unclear as to which noun it is replacing.

  • The dogs were taken to the park by Sharon and her brother so that they could get some exercise.
  • John and his brother fell out when he found out that he had broken his iPad

So who is intended to benefit from the exercise in the above sentence, the dogs or the children..? Who broke the iPad and to whom did it belong?

There is a detailed explanation at chomp of the whole issue and hoe to avoid it – its probably much more than primary age children need to be concerned with, but it is interesting and amusing…

The section that follows on pronouns will lay out the different types of pronoun and, hopefully, help in avoiding some of the pitfalls that lead to ambiguity when writing.

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