Personal Pronouns – Grammar Lesson

CHAPTER 18.  PERSONAL PRONOUNS

Pronouns are words which can be used in the place of nouns. The personal pronouns in the following sentences are underlined.
e.g. She will do the work herself.
They gave it to him.
We want to know who was there.

In the following examples, pronouns are used in the place of nouns, instead of repeating the nouns.
e.g. I saw a boy on the steps. He seemed to recognize me.
My friend and her brother like to ski. They ski whenever they can.
In the first example, the pronoun he is used instead of repeating the noun boy. In the second example, the pronoun they is used instead of repeating the nouns friend and brother.

1. The subjective case

The following English personal pronouns were listed in Chapter 1. They are usually referred to as indicated below:

SingularPlural
  First Person  I  we
  Second Person  you  you
  Third Person  he, she, it  they

Thus, I is referred to as the first person singularwe is referred to as the first person pluralyou is referred to as the second personheshe and it are referred to as the third person singular; and they is referred to as the third person plural.

These pronouns are said to be in the subjective case, because they can each be used as the subject of a verb. In the following examples, the personal pronouns in the subjective case are underlined.
e.g. I am ready.
He is fortunate.
She is a teacher.
It is raining.
We are coming.
You are right.
They are determined.

The agreement of verbs with subjects which are personal pronouns has been discussed in previous chapters.

2. Agreement of personal pronouns with their antecedents

The pronoun I is used to refer to the speaker or writer. The pronoun you is used to refer to one or more persons or things which are being addressed by the speaker or writer. The pronoun we is normally used to refer to the speaker or writer together with one or more other people.

When a pronoun stands for a noun which has already been mentioned, the noun is sometimes referred to as the antecedent of the pronoun.
e.g. The apples are cheap, but they are not ripe yet.
In the preceding example, the noun apples is the antecedent of the pronoun they.

The antecedents of pronouns usually precede the pronouns. However, a pronoun may also stand for a noun which follows the pronoun, provided that it is obvious to what the pronoun is referring.
e.g. Because they are sour, the apples will be used for cooking.
In this example, the pronoun they stands for the noun apples, which occurs later In the sentence.

a. Male and female antecedents

The third person singular pronouns he and she are the only pronouns in the subjective case which are differentiated with respect to gender. The pronoun he is used to refer to male antecedents, and the pronoun she is used to refer to female antecedents.
e.g. A girl was sitting on the steps. She was waiting for her friend.
boy was delivering papers. He seemed to be in a hurry.
In the above examples, the pronoun she agrees with the female antecedent girl, and the pronoun he agrees with the male antecedent boy.

b. Singular and plural antecedents

English third person pronouns are also differentiated with respect to number. If the antecedent of a pronoun is singular, a singular pronoun must be used. If the antecedent of a pronoun is plural, a plural pronoun must be used.
e.g. I have one watchIt is quite accurate.
I have two watchesThey are quite accurate.

This is my sisterShe is younger than I am.
These are my sistersThey are younger than I am.

This is my brotherHe is older than I am.
These are my brothersThey are older than I am.

In the above examples, the singular pronouns ithe and she agree with the singular antecedents watchsister and brother. The plural pronoun they agrees with the plural antecedents watchessisters and brothers.

As illustrated above, the third person plural pronoun they can be used to stand for either male or female antecedents.
e.g. The men liked to play cards. They took turns keeping score.
The women came, but they did not stay long.
The men and women greeted each other. They all knew one another.

c. Human and non-human antecedents

The third person singular pronouns heshe and it usually distinguish between antecedents which refer to human beings, and antecedents which refer to things which are not human. The pronouns he and she usually refer to human beings. However, he or she may also be used to refer to an animal, if the gender of the animal is known to the speaker or writer.
e.g. My aunt is very intelligent. She has a degree in philosophy.
His brother was not there, because he had to work late.
Your dog is well trained. He is a good guard dog.
In the first two examples, he and she are used to refer to human beings. In the third example, he is used to refer to an animal.

If a third person singular antecedent does not refer to a human being, the pronoun it is usually used. However, when the thing named by the antecedent is referred to as if it had human qualities, the pronoun he or she may be used. For instance, ships and countries are sometimes referred to as she.
e.g. There is a robin on the lawn. It has a nest in that tree.
This is a good bookIt is interesting and well-written.
The Bonnie Belle is a sailing ship. She is very seaworthy.
In the first two examples, it is used to refer to things which are not human. In the third example, she is used to refer to a thing which is not human.

The third person plural pronoun they can stand for either human or non-human antecedents.
e.g. The children bought ice cream, because they felt hungry.
The umbrellas are popular, because they are inexpensive.
In the first example, they stands for the human antecedent children. In the second example, they stands for the non-human antecedent umbrellas.

The main rules for the agreement of the third person pronouns hesheit and they with their antecedents can be summarized as follows:

Agreement of Third Person Pronouns with their Antecedents

PronounAntecedent
  he  singular, male, usually human
  she  singular, female, usually human
  it  singular, non-human
  they  plural

See Exercises 1 and 2.

A pronoun should not be used to stand for a noun, unless it is obvious to which noun the pronoun is referring. For instance, in the following examples, it is not clear to which nouns the underlined pronouns refer.
e.g. My friend was there with her mother. She was wearing a blue dress.
The children stared at the horses. They were ready to start.
In the first example, the pronoun she could stand either for the noun friend or for the noun mother. Similarly, in the second example, the pronoun they could stand for either children or horses.

In written English, when it is not obvious to which antecedent a pronoun refers, the relevant sentence should be corrected. This can be done either by repeating the noun, instead of using a pronoun; or by rewriting the sentence to make the meaning clear. For instance, the preceding examples could be corrected as follows. It will be assumed that she refers to friend, and that they refers to horses.
e.g. My friend was there with her mother. My friend was wearing a blue dress.
or My friend, wearing a blue dress, was there with her mother.

The children stared at the horses. The horses were ready to start.
or The children stared at the horses, which were ready to start.

See Exercise 3.

 3. Special uses of It

The pronoun it can be used without an antecedent in sentences referring to general conditions such as the weather or the time.
e.g. It is raining.
It has been a wet summer.
It is too hot here.
It is the twenty-fourth of April.
It is seven o’clock.
It is Friday.

The pronoun it can also be used in expressions such as the following.
e.g. It would be a good idea to attend the meeting.
It is not necessary to buy tickets in advance.
It will be easy to find the right house.
It was clever of you to think of that.
In these sentences, it can be thought of as standing for the infinitive which follows the verb. The ideas expressed in such sentences may be expressed without the use of it by changing the infinitive to a gerund, which is placed before the verb.

For instance, the preceding sentences can be rewritten as follows:
Attending the meeting would be a good idea.
Buying tickets in advance is not necessary.
Finding the right house will be easy.
Thinking of that was clever of you.

See Exercise 4.

 4. The objective case

Objects of verbs have already been discussed in the chapter on transitive and intransitive verbs. When a personal pronoun is the object of a verb, the pronoun must be in the objective case. In the following sentences, the pronouns in the objective case are underlined.
e.g. They need me.
We like you.
They understand him.
I wanted her to help them.
We mended it yesterday.

As shown in the following table, each personal pronoun in the subjective case has a corresponding form in the objective case.

Personal pronouns in the subjective and objective cases

Subjective CaseObjective Case
  I  me
  you  you
  he  him
  she  her
  it  it
  we  us
  they  them

It can be seen that only the personal pronouns you and it have the same form in the objective case as in the subjective case.

When a personal pronoun is the subject of a verb, the subjective form of the pronoun must be used.
e.g. I understand what you mean.
He saw the comet.
In these sentences, the underlined pronouns are the subjects of the verbs understand and saw; therefore, the subjective forms I and he must be used.

When a personal pronoun is the object of a verb, the objective form of the pronoun must be used.
e.g. My friends understand me.
We saw him last night.
In these sentences, the underlined pronouns are the objects of the verbs understand and saw; therefore, the objective forms me and him must be used.

The rules for the agreement of pronouns with their antecedents are the same for pronouns in the objective case as for the corresponding pronouns in the subjective case.
e.g. When your son won the prize, we congratulated him.
Your daughter thinks we have not noticed her.
When the letter arrived, we answered it immediately.
He and I were right, but no one believed us.
Because the boats were barely moving, we overtook them easily.
In the preceding sentences, the pronouns himheritus and them agree with the antecedents sondaughterletterhe and I and boats, respectively.

See Exercises 5, 6 and 7.

It should be noted that the verb to be does not take an object. In formal, written English, when the verb to be is immediately followed by a personal pronoun, the pronoun must usually be in the subjective case. In the following examples, the pronouns following the verb to be are in the subjective case.
e.g. It is I.
That was he.
This is she.
Those are they.

However, in informal English, this rule is usually ignored. In informal English, when a pronoun immediately follows any verb, including the verb to be, the objective form of the pronoun is usually used. Thus, in informal English the sentence It is I would usually be expressed It is me, and the sentence That was he would usually be expressed That was him.

See Exercise 8.

As well as being used as the objects of verbs, personal pronouns in the objective case are used as objects of prepositions. Prepositions are words such as atinonto and with. A preposition links the words immediately following it to the rest of the sentence.

A noun or pronoun which forms part of a prepositional phrase is said to be the object of the preposition. For instance, the underlined pronouns in the following examples are objects of prepositions.
e.g. Please give the book to me.
We have heard a great deal about you.
They went with him.
I bought a present for her.
He walked across it.
The cake was made by us.
Here is a letter from them.
In the preceding examples, the underlined pronouns are the objects of the prepositions toaboutwithforacrossby and from.

See Exercises 9 and 10.

5. Possessive personal pronouns

Each of the personal pronouns has forms which indicate possession. For instance, in the following sentences, the underlined words are the possessive forms of personal pronouns.
e.g. This is your book.
This book is yours.
His apartment is large, but mine is small.
Their marks are higher than ours.

The subjective, objective and possessive forms of the English personal pronouns are shown in the following table.

Subjective CaseObjective CasePossessive Form used before a NounPossessive Form used Independently
  I  me  my  mine
  you  you  your  yours
  he  him  his  his
  she  her  her  hers
  it  it  its  [its]
  we  us  our  ours
  they  them  their  theirs

a. Possessive adjectives

As shown in the preceding table, the personal pronouns have two possessive forms. One form shows possession by preceding a noun. A personal pronoun in this form may be referred to as a possessive adjective, since, like an adjective, it describes the thing to which the noun refers.

In the following sentences, the possessive adjectives are underlined.
e.g. My bicycle is new.
Does your uncle play hockey?
His answer was correct.
Her father is not here.
The tree has lost two of its branches.
He is our friend.
Their house is one block from the school.

The rules for the agreement of personal pronouns with their antecedents also apply to the corresponding possessive adjectives. In languages such as French and Spanish, possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they precede. However, in English, possessive adjectives agree with their antecedents, as illustrated in the following table.

Agreement of English Possessive Adjectives with their Antecedents

AntecedentPossessive AdjectiveExample
  boy  his  The boy obeys his mother.
  girl  her  The girl likes her brothers.
  bird  its  The bird sat on its nest.
  cows  their  The cows have lost their way.

In the preceding examples, the antecedents are underlined, and the possessive adjectives are printed in bold type.

See Exercise 11.

i. Possessive adjectives used with gerunds

In formal English, when a gerund is preceded by a personal pronoun, the pronoun must usually be in the form of a possessive adjective. In the following examples, the gerunds are underlined, and the possessive adjectives are printed in bold type.
e.g. The boy said that his skating had improved.
The girl entertained the guests with her singing.
We think our lobbying for new street lights will be effective.

See Exercise 12.

b. Possessive pronouns

The possessive form of a personal pronoun which can be used independently can be referred to as a possessive pronoun, since it can be used in the place of a noun. In the following sentences, the possessive pronouns are underlined.
e.g. He did not bring his coat, but I brought mine.
Our mail has been delivered, but theirs has not.
In the above examples, mine stands for my coat, and theirs stands for their mail.

The following table compares the possessive pronouns with the possessive adjectives. It can be seen that only his and its have the same form when used as pronouns as when used as adjectives. The possessive pronoun its is seldom used.

Possessive AdjectivePossessive Pronoun
  my  mine
  your  yours
  his  his
  her  hers
  its  [its]
  our  ours
  their  theirs

Except for the pronoun mine, all of the possessive pronouns end in s. However, it should be noted that, unlike possessive nouns, the possessive personal pronouns are not spelled with an apostrophe. Care should be taken not to confuse the possessive form its with the contraction it’s, which stands for it is or it has.

In the following sentences, the possessive personal pronouns are underlined.
e.g. That book is mine.
Are these gloves yours?
The red bicycle is his.
Because I forgot my umbrella, she lent me hers.
Their teacher is stricter than ours.
Our teacher is relaxed, but theirs is short-tempered.

See Exercises 13 and 14.

6. Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are often used when the action described by the verb is directed toward the thing referred to by the subject of the verb. This use of reflexive pronouns is illustrated in the following examples. The reflexive pronouns are underlined.
e.g. I washed myself thoroughly before putting on clean clothes.
Did you hurt yourself?

Reflexive pronouns can also be used when it is desired to emphasize a personal pronoun. The reflexive pronouns in the following examples are underlined.
e.g. I myself saw what happened.
Did he solve the problem himself?
She did the work herself.
In these examples, the reflexive pronouns myselfhimself and herself are used to emphasize the personal pronouns Ihe and she.

The reflexive personal pronouns are listed below.

Subjective CaseReflexive Pronoun
  I  myself
  you  yourself
  he  himself
  she  herself
  it  itself
  we  ourselves
  you  yourselves
  they  themselves

It can be seen that in the second person, a differentiation is made between yourself, which agrees with singular antecedents, and yourselves, which agrees with plural antecedents.

It should be noted that the first and second person reflexive pronouns are formed from the corresponding possessive adjectives, whereas the third person reflexive pronouns are formed from the corresponding pronouns in the objective case. This is illustrated in the following table.

Objective CasePossessive AdjectiveReflexive Pronoun
  me  my  myself
  you  your  yourself
  him  his  himself
  her  hers  herself
  it  its  itself
  us  our  ourselves
  you  your  yourselves
  them  their  themselves

See Exercise 15.

EXERCISES for Chapter 18

  1. In the sentences below, fill in the blanks with the personal pronouns which agree with the underlined antecedents. For example:
    The man walked slowly, because __ was carrying a heavy parcel.
    The man walked slowly, because he was carrying a heavy parcel.

Although ___ knew it was dangerous, the girl wanted to ride the horse.
Although she knew it was dangerous, the girl wanted to ride the horse.

The tree is very tall, but __ does not give much shade.
The tree is very tall, but it does not give much shade.

She and I are not coming, because __ are too busy.
She and I are not coming, because we are too busy.

Doughnuts taste best when ____ are fresh.
Doughnuts taste best when they are fresh.

  1. The children are happy because _______ have a holiday today.
  2. My father and I had planned to visit the park, but since it was raining _______ decided not to go.
  3. This chair is valuable because _______ is so old.
  4. The woman is pleased because _______ has found work.
  5. Until _______ retired, their father managed a business.
  6. After the apples have been cut up, _______ should be sprinkled with cinnamon.
  7. Because her husband used to study music, _______ knows how to play several musical instruments.
  8. My neighbor and I like to go shopping together, so that _______ can help each other choose what to buy.
  9. Her daughter likes to study, because _______ finds the work interesting.
  10. The car is in good condition, but _______ needs a new muffler.

  11. Paying attention to the meanings of the sentences below, fill in each blank with hesheitwe or they, and underline the antecedent of the pronoun. For example:
    My grandfather does not want to retire, because __ likes his work.
    My grandfather does not want to retire, because he likes his work.

His wife will be there if __ can find a baby-sitter.
His wife will be there if she can find a baby-sitter.

The bicycle must be repaired before __ can be ridden again.
The bicycle must be repaired before it can be ridden again.

My cousin and I live in different towns, but __ write to each other often.
My cousin and I live in different towns, but we write to each other often.

The bananas are quite soft, but ___ can be used in banana cake.
The bananas are quite soft, but they can be used in banana cake.

  1. When the moon is full, ______ rises just as the sun sets.
  2. Tracy and I like spending time together, because _______ share many interests.
  3. When my uncle was young, _______ enjoyed playing soccer.
  4. The students worked hard, because _______ were anxious to complete the assignment.
  5. When the lady entered the hotel, ______ asked to speak with the manager.
  6. The man was surprised when ______ heard the news.
  7. My friend and I had to leave early so that _____ could catch the bus.
  8. I liked the picture so much that I had ______ framed.
  9. Your grandmother is old, but ______ is still beautiful.
  10. The boats look picturesque when _______ are tied up in the harbor.
  11. The underlined pronouns in the following sentences are ambiguous, since it is not obvious to which antecedents they refer. For each sentence, first underline the two possible antecedents of the pronoun. Then make the sentence unambiguous by choosing one of the antecedents and repeating it, instead of using the pronoun. When repeating the antecedent, it is also necessary to repeat any words which modify it. For example:
    I invited the woman and her sister, but she could not come.
    I invited the woman and her sister, but her sister could not come.
    or I invited the woman and her sister, but the woman could not come.

George gave Tom a book. Then he went home.
George gave Tom a book. Then Tom went home.
or George gave Tom a book. Then George went home.

The boys challenged the girls to a game, but they did not play well.
The boys challenged the girls to a game, but the boys did not play well.
or The boys challenged the girls to a game, but the girls did not play well.

  1. I used your pen to finish the assignment, but then I lost it.
  2. My father told my uncle the story, but he did not believe it.
  3. When the students met the teachers for the first time, they were not sure what to expect.
  4. The girl was dressed like her mother, except that she was not wearing a hat.
  5. The man had arranged to meet his son at four o’clock, but he was late.
  6. The box was the same size as the trunk, but it was much heavier.
  7. The lady wanted to visit my aunt, but she had to leave town unexpectedly.
  8. The riders slowed down their horses because they were growing tired.
  9. The butterfly was sitting close to the flower, but it could not be seen in the photograph.
  10. The cups were supposed to match the saucers, but they were a lighter shade of blue.
  11. Rewrite each of the following sentences, using the construction with the pronoun it, followed by the verb, followed by an infinitive. For example:
    Traveling by ship was quite relaxing.
    It was quite relaxing to travel by ship.

Finding the right path could take a long time.
It could take a long time to find the right path.

  1. Paying close attention can be crucial.
  2. Crossing the mountains would be very difficult.
  3. Learning everything was not easy.
  4. Skiing down the mountain was exciting.
  5. Walking on a glacier can be dangerous.
  6. Visiting Rome was a wonderful experience.
  7. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the personal pronoun which agrees with the underlined word. The objective case must be used, since the pronouns in these sentences are the objects of verbs. For example:
    I am looking for the post office. Can you help __?
    I am looking for the post office. Can you help me?

Since you are new here, I will show ___ the way.
Since you are new here, I will show you the way.

If my father is at home, I will ask ___ what to do.
If my father is at home, I will ask him what to do.

My aunt and uncle invited me to visit ___.
My aunt and uncle invited me to visit them.

  1. Because she is your friend, I offered to help ______.
    2. I wish someone would tell ______ the answer.
    3. They look familiar. I am sure we have met _______ before.
  2. If you are ready, we will drive _______ home.
    5. We would like you to call ______.
    6. He is our neighbor. We have known _______ for years.
  3. This is the book I need. May I borrow ______ ?
  4. If you like, I will call _______ when we arrive.
    9. We were surprised they remembered ______.
  5. That man waved to us, but I do not recognize ______.
    11. I think they expect ______ to come.
  6. The piano is out of tune, but I am having ______ tuned tomorrow.
  7. Will she mind if I ask ______ a question?
  8. The beans will grow faster if you water ______.
  9. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the personal pronoun which agrees with the underlined word. Use the subjective case if the pronoun is the subject of a verb, and use the objective case if the pronoun is the object of a verb. For example:
    They invited me to come, but __ did not have time.
    They invited me to come, but I did not have time.

Just after we had mailed you the letter, ___ called us.
Just after we had mailed you the letter, you called us.

That boy is quite friendly. I like ___.
That boy is quite friendly. I like him.

He offered to lend me two books, but I had read ___ already.
He offered to lend me two books, but I had read them already.

  1. I saw your brother after school. _____ lent me his bicycle.
  2. Would you like me to help ______ ?
  3. My friend and I expect the woman to call ______.
  4. If I am ready in time, ______ will meet you there.
  5. This woman is one of our relatives, ______ is my husband’s cousin.
  6. Her grandfather is a wise man. Everybody respects ______.
  7. The chimney is old. ______ needs to be repaired.
  8. My sister likes sports. We should invite ______ to join us.
  9. Those people are your new neighbors. Have you met _______ yet?
    10. She and I will call you if ______ are late.
  10. I waited for you for twenty minutes, but ______ did not come.
  11. The camera was heavy, but he carried ______ everywhere he went.
  12. Some ducks swim underwater when _______ are searching for food.
    14. I waved to you. Did you see _______ ?

  13. Paying attention to the case of the personal pronouns, rewrite each of the following sentences so that the meaning is reversed. For example:
    We gave them the pen.
    They gave us the pen.

I like you.
You like me.

1. She helped us.
2. He asked them to come.
3. I recognized her.
4. You warned me.
5. We reminded them to call.
6. They told him the truth.
7. She invited us for tea.
8. He offered me a sandwich.

  1. Fill in each blank with either the subjective case or the objective case of the pronoun given in brackets. Use the subjective case if the pronoun follows the verb to be. Otherwise, use the objective case. For example:
    That is __. (he)
    That is he.

We remember ___. (he)
We remember him.

It was __ who did it. (we)
It was we who did it.

He threw __ the ball. (we)
He threw us the ball.

  1. It was ______. (I)
  2. Please hand ______ the book. (I)
  3. I told _______ the secret. (she)
  4. It was _______ who was here. (she)
  5. It was _______ who knew the answer. (they)
  6. Let _______ go. (they)
  7. This is _______. (he)
  8. I knew _______ before. (he)
  9. Those were _______. (they)
  10. It is ______ who will be there. (we)
  11. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the personal pronoun which agrees with the underlined word. The objective case must be used, since the pronouns in these sentences are the objects of prepositions. For example:
    I want you to address the letter to __.
    I want you to address the letter to me.

This jar is the largest. Rice was stored in __.
This jar is the largest. Rice was stored in it.

The girl was shy, but we had an enjoyable conversation with ___.
The girl was shy, but we had an enjoyable conversation with her.

We went to the post office, but there was no mail for __.
We went to the post office, but there was no mail for us.

1. They want us to go with _____.
2. I would like you to wrap this gift for ______.
3. She thinks we are talking about ______.
4. The wall was so high that I could not see over ______.
5. Your nephew wants us to write to ______.
6. You should ask them to send it to ______.
7. Nancy and I would like you to come with ______.
8. He asked us to wait for ______.
9. I would be grateful if you would explain this to ______.
10. Because you were late, we saved some food for ______.
11. We told you that the costumes were designed by ______.
12. The swans were so beautiful that we wrote a song about _______.
13. The car is worth more than you paid for ______.
14. Your daughter wants me to read to ______.

  1. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the personal pronoun which agrees with the underlined word. Use the subjective case if the pronoun is the subject of a verb, and use the objective case if the pronoun is the object of a verb or the object of a preposition. For example:
    They looked at me, but __ did not recognize them.
    They looked at me, but I did not recognize them.

We told you what would happen, but ___ did not listen.
We told you what would happen, but you did not listen.

We saw them, but they did not see __.
We saw them, but they did not see us.

They asked us a question, but we could not tell ____ the answer.
They asked us a question, but we could not tell them the answer.

Their son did not know the way, but we pointed it out to ___.
Their son did not know the way, but we pointed it out to him.

The girl is so mischievous, we do not know what to do with ___.
The girl is so mischievous, we do not know what to do with her.

  1. His father works hard. ______ is a doctor.
  2. Because the woman seemed friendly, we asked ______ for directions.
  3. The cupboards are so full, we cannot put anything else into _____.
    4. You will be surprised if we beat ______ in the race.
  4. Have you been looking for me? ______ had to run an errand.
  5. My niece wants us to send the photographs to ______.
    7. We have invited them to visit ______.
  6. The store was open, but we did not have time to go into ______.
    9. She will be angry if we make fun of ______.
    10. You and I are good friends, ______ hardly ever argue.
  7. Your son-in-law asked us to describe it to ______.
  8. The windows are very stiff. We open _______ only in the summer.
  9. The basket is heavy. ______ is full of oranges.
  10. Your husband does not like anyone to contradict ______.
    15. I hope you were not anxious about ______.
  11. Would you like me to mail the information to ______
  12. The leaves rustled in the breeze, ______ were already starting to change color.
  13. The road was long, but we followed ______ to the end.
    19. I asked him to tell ______ the time.
    20. You will enjoy yourself if ______ come to the concert.
    21. We want you to wait for ______.

  14. Fill in each blank with the possessive adjective which agrees with the underlined antecedent. For example:
    I am looking for __ keys.
    I am looking for my keys.

The lady left ___ gloves on the counter.
The lady left her gloves on the counter.

Personal pronouns must agree with _____ antecedents.
Personal pronouns must agree with their antecedents.

1. I opened _______ book.
2. Did the man finish _______ work?
3. The bear is licking _______ paws.
4. Please show us to _______ seats.
5. She has already purchased _______ ticket.
6. Have you heard from _______ friends recently?
7. The students live near _______ school.
8. The gentleman would like to have _______ watch repaired.
9. We eat _______ breakfast at the same time every morning.
10. That woman always walks _______ dog in the park.
11. I would like to renew _______ subscription.
12. The eagle was holding something in _______ claws.
13. Will you give me _______ address?
14. The gymnasts asked ________ coach for advice.

  1. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the possessive adjective which agrees with the noun or pronoun shown in brackets. For example:
    ___ barking kept us awake. (the dog)
    Its barking kept us awake.

___ arriving on time was fortunate. (we)
Our arriving on time was fortunate.

_____ swooping and darting was a sign that it would rain. (the swallows)
Their swooping and darting was a sign that it would rain.

  1. ________ following the guidelines was a good idea. (you)
  2. _______ agreeing to forward the mail was helpful. (the students)
  3. _________ answering the questions so easily was unexpected. (he)
  4. ________ driving the car saved a great deal of time. (I)
  5. ________ speaking so forcefully impressed the audience. (the woman)
  6. ________ entering the race was intended as a gesture of goodwill. (we)
  7. ________ chiming told us the time. (the clock)
  8. Fill in each blank with the possessive pronoun which agrees with the underlined antecedent. For example:
    If you cannot find your pen, I will lend you ____.
    If you cannot find your pen, I will lend you mine.

I failed my exams, but my brother passed ___.
I failed my exams, but my brother passed his.

Their umbrellas are rather tattered, but we have mended ____.
Their umbrellas are rather tattered, but we have mended ours.

  1. Your coat may be warm, but I think _______ is more elegant.
  2. Because I had no gloves, my niece offered me _______.
  3. I forgot to bring my camera. Did you bring _______.
  4. When I lost my map, your son lent me _______.
  5. They discarded their old telephone directories, but we kept _______.
  6. We have not planted our peas yet, but the farmers have planted ______ already.
  7. I never cut my hair, but my sister cuts _______ once a month.
  8. The neighbors’ children are very independent, but we have to help _______.
  9. We store our bicycles in the shed, but they leave ________ outside.
  10. I water my plants every day, but you never water ________.
  11. Although she likes her school, I prefer _______.
  12. My niece studies for all her tests, but my nephew refuses to study for ________.
  13. Fill in each blank with either the possessive adjective or the possessive pronoun which agrees with the underlined antecedent. Remember that the possessive adjective must precede a noun or gerund, whereas the possessive pronoun is used independently. For example:
    Last night I wrote to __ sister.
    Last night I wrote to my sister.

I thought the book was yours, but in fact, it was ____.
I thought the book was yours, but in fact, it was mine.

She has ordered ___ tickets in advance.
She has ordered her tickets in advance.

Although they do not know it yet, the prize is ______.
Although they do not know it yet, the prize is theirs.

The rain continued ___ pattering on the roof.
The rain continued its pattering on the roof.

1. I always enjoy _______ vacation.
2. I mailed my letter. Did you mail _______?
3. He is eager to try out _______ skis.
4. I am sure _______ handling of the situation was correct.
5. I rarely use a car, but they drive ________ everywhere.
6. My aunt visits _______ cousins once a year.
7. We are proud of _______ record.
8. I have never met your children. Have you met _______?
9. The gate swung noiselessly on _______ hinges.
10. I have received my diploma, but she has not yet received _______.
11. Have you filled out _______ application?
12. The bird continued _______ twittering long after dusk.
13. They are going to sublet _______ apartment.
14. I got my driver’s license last month, but he got _______ a year ago.
15. Most businesses try to expand, but we have kept ______ small.
16. They saw _______ friend on television.
17. I finished my assignment yesterday. Have you finished _______?

  1. For each of the following sentences, fill in the blank with the reflexive pronoun which agrees with the underlined word. For example:
    I found ______ in a difficult situation.
    I found myself in a difficult situation.

The children warmed __________ in front of the fire.
The children warmed themselves in front of the fire.

1. He should take better care of ______________.
2. You may help ____________.
3. I saw it ________.
4. She likes to involve ____________ in community affairs.
5. We could see ______________ reflected in the mirror.
6. The bird perched _____________ on the window sill.
7. The students found the solution ______________.
8. You _____________ must decide what to do.
9. The teenagers amused ______________ by telephoning their friends.
10. We ______________ were surprised at the news.
11. He likes to hear ____________ talk.
12. She prides _____________ on her ability to speak French.
13. I told ____________ not to lose hope.
14. The fox hid _____________ under a bush.

ANSWERS TO THE EXERCISES for Chapter 18

Answers to Exercise 1:
1. they 2. we 3. it 4. she 5. he 6. they 7. he 8. we 9. she 10. it

Answers to Exercise 2:
1. it 2. we 3. he 4. they 5. she 6. he 7. we 8. it 9. she 10. they

Answers to Exercise 3:
1. your pen or the assignment 2. my father or my uncle 3. the students or the teachers 4. the girl or her mother 5. the man or his son 6. the box or the trunk 7. the lady or my aunt 8. the riders or their horses 9. the butterfly or the flower 10. the cups or the saucers

Answers to Exercise 4:
1. It can be crucial to pay close attention. 2. It would be very difficult to cross the mountains. 3. It was not easy to learn everything. 4. It was exciting to ski down the mountain. 5. It can be dangerous to walk on a glacier. 6. It was a wonderful experience to visit Rome.

Answers to Exercise 5:
1. her 2. me 3. them 4. you 5. us 6. him 7. it 8. you 9. us 10. him 11. me 12. it 13. her 14. them

Answers to Exercise 6:
1. He 2. you 3. us 4. I 5. She 6. him 7. It 8. her 9. them 10. we 11. you 12. it 13. they 14. me

Answers to Exercise 7:
1. We helped her. 2. They asked him to come. 3. She recognized me. 4. I warned you. 5. They reminded us to call. 6. He told them the truth. 7. We invited her for tea. 8. I offered him a sandwich.

Answers to Exercise 8:
1. I 2. me 3. her 4. she 5. they 6. them 7. he 8. him 9. they 10. we

Answers to Exercise 9:
1. them 2. me 3. her 4. it 5. him 6. you 7. us 8. him 9. me 10. you 11. us 12. them 13. it 14. her

Answers to Exercise 10:
1. He 2. her 3. them 4. you 5. I 6. her 7. us 8. it 9. her 10. We 11. him 12. them 13. It 14. him 15. me 16. you 17. They 18. it 19. me 20. you 21. us

Answers to Exercise 11:
1. my 2. his 3. its 4. our 5. her 6. your 7. their 8. his 9. our 10. her 11. my 12. its 13. your 14. their

Answers to Exercise 12:
1. Your 2. Their 3. His 4. My 5. Her 6. Our 7. Its

Answers to Exercise 13:
1. mine 2. hers 3. yours 4. his 5. ours 6. theirs 7. hers 8. ours 9. theirs 10. yours 11. mine 12. his

Answers to Exercise 14:
1. my 2. yours 3. his 4. my 5. theirs 6. her 7. our 8. mine 9. its 10. hers 11. your 12. its 13. their 14. his 15. ours 16. their 17. yours

Answers to Exercise 15:
1. himself 2. yourself or yourselves 3. myself 4. herself 5. ourselves 6. itself 7. themselves 8. yourself or yourselves 9. themselves 10. ourselves 11. himself 12. herself 13. myself 14. itself

English Grammar Lessons
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