Sentence correction questions feature various types of errors. While you must have heard about the subject-verb agreement error, another related type is subject-pronoun agreement error.
Before discussing the subject-pronoun agreement, let’s review some basics:
Subject of the sentence: The subject is what the sentence is about. It is usually the name of a person or thing. It is almost always a noun or a pronoun. e.g. John, Mary, Alice, Peter, India, country, bird, flower, I, you, he, she, it, we, they etc.
Verb - The verb indicates an action. e.g. work, sing, dance, play, write, run etc.
Object - the remaining part of the sentence (upon which action is done) is the object.
Prepositions - prepositions are the words which tell the position of nouns and pronouns. e.g. to, from, in, at etc.
Use of prepositions
Sometimes, prepositions need to accompany the verbs to complete the sentence. A noun affected by such a preposition is called the object of a preposition. E.g. Stop talking about them. (The object of the preposition about is ‘them’.)
- A preposition is generally, but not always used before the noun or pronoun. E.g.
Correct: Where did she go?
Incorrect: Where did she go to?
- The preposition ‘like’ implies "similar to". It is followed by the object of the preposition by a subject and verb. It is better to avoid using ‘like’ when a verb is present.
Correct: He looks like his father.
Incorrect: He looks like his father does.
Correct: He looks the way his father does.
Incorrect: Do like I ask.
Correct: Do as I ask.
Incorrect: She looks like she is angry.
Correct: She looks as if she is angry.
Let’s understand the Subject-Pronoun agreement with the help of examples:
Keeping the subject-verb agreement rules in mind, go through following sentences:
- The teacher began her lecture.
(In this case the subject of the sentence is the teacher, and since the teacher is singular, hence the pronoun to be used with it will also be singular).
The teachers began their lecture.
(In this case the subject - the teachers is plural and hence the pronoun will also be plural.)
- Uncle Henry travelled oversees to buy vases for her company.
(In this case the gender of the subject, changes the pronoun and hence this sentence is incorrect.)
The correct sentence would be:
Uncle Henry travelled oversees to buy vases for his company.
Sentence Correction: Concepts & Rules
Things to keep in mind
- Remember to identify the verb before finding the subject of the sentence.
- A sentence can have more than one subject and verb.
- Infinitives are not the main verbs in the sentence.
- Sometimes, the subject is understood without being in the sentence. E.g. Please bring me some tea. (Here, ‘you’ is an obvious subject.)
Verbal Preparation Series