Tag Archive - pronouns

Joint Ownership 

Let’s talk a bit about joint possession and the proper way to express this. Possession can get a bit tricky, and writers often don’t stop to think about the nuances. Take a look at this sentence:

  • We always go to my uncle and aunt’s house for the holidays.

Unless your uncle and aunt have separate homes, the sign of possession—the apostrophe—is placed with the second noun. The pair is treated as a unit; that’s  what joint ownership is, after all.

Things get a little trickier when you replace one of the nouns with a pronoun. Which is correct?

  • We’re going to him (referring to your uncle) and my aunt’s house
  • We’re going to his and my aunt’s house

Continue Reading…

Do Yourself a Favor and Learn about Reflexive Pronouns

I sometimes see writers misuse reflexive pronouns—pronouns that have the suffix self (or selves) tagged on. For example, note these incorrect sentences:

  • My wife and myself thank you for the gift.
  • Deliver the cake to my partner or myself.
  • You should include ourselves in the vacation.

Take a moment to learn what reflexive and intensive personal pronouns are. A reflexive pronoun renames the subject as an object: “She gave herself a birthday present.” Continue Reading…

Clear and Present Antecedents

Pronouns take the place of nouns. When you use a pronoun, you must be sure that its antecedent (what it refers to) is clear. For instance, who does her refer to in this sentence?

  • Both Heidi and Mary loved her children.

Her is an unclear pronoun because we don’t know if it refers to Heidi’s children or Mary’s children.

So let’s look at one word that can be a little tricky: other. It’s one of those words that serves multiple roles in our language—noun, pronoun, adjective, or adverb. But for our purposes right now, let’s look at its role as a pronoun.

You’ve probably read a sentence like this a hundred times and never given it much thought:

  • Jesse’s artwork has been displayed in the Omaha Public Library, Creighton University, and the governor’s mansion, among others.

Then again, you may have wondered, “among other whats?” Here others does not have a clear antecedent. It’s a pronoun without a noun. What do the proper nouns in this sentence have in common? Continue Reading…

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