After discussing sentence corrections in terms of subject verb agreements and modifiers we now go on to delve into another aspect of sentence correction, that of pronoun agreement and comparisons.
The pronoun being used depends on whether it is being used as the subject or the object of the sentence.
If the pronoun is the subject of the verb then ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘who’, ‘I’, ‘they’ and ‘we’ are used.
Glen was dressed marvellously. Here, since ‘Glen’ is the subject of the verb ‘dressed’ , the pronoun used would be ‘she’.
If the pronoun is used as an object then ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘whom’, ‘them’ and ‘us’ are used.
Wrong Usage: He took you and she out for dinner?
Correct Usage: He took you and her out for dinner
‘He’ is definitely the subject of the verb, whereas the other pronouns are objects.
A pronoun immediately after ‘than’ is usually in the objective case except when followed by a verb.
- He is taller than me.
- He is taller than I am.
- He is smarter than her.
- He works more than she does.
- I am as tall as her.
- I am as tall as she is.
Usage of ‘who’ and ‘whom’
If the pronoun is a subject then ‘who’ is used and if the pronoun is an object then ‘whom’ is used.
- I have no idea whom the teacher meant when she spoke about violators of discipline norms. Here, the ‘whom’ is the object of the verb ‘meant’.
- Who they were, I cannot really specify.
- Who do you think she is?
- He was the man who they were determined should be the next mayor.
- People who respect others earn respect for themselves. (here, the people are the object)
- The people whom others respect are always expected to remain humble. (here, the people are the subject)
It may be noted here that today, ‘who’ does replace ‘whom’ in spoken English, the differentiation being rigid only in formal English.
Possessive pronouns must agree in person and number
The following pronouns are singular in number:
These are plural:
Wrong Usage: Some of you will have to bring their own laptops.
Correct Usage: Some of you will have to bring your own laptops.
- All members must show their identity cards at the reception desk.
- Each of the girls gave her own perspective of child abuse.
- I am one of those who reflect on everything they see.
The indefinite pronoun ‘one’ should be used throughout
Wrong Usage: One should not believe everything he hears.
Correct Usage: One should not believe everything one hears.
- One must not boast of one’s own virtues.
- One must use one’s talents in the best possible way if one wishes to be successful.
The objects of the verb ‘to be’ are in subjective form
- It must have been she who called.
The word ‘which’ introduces non-essential clauses and ‘that’ introduces essential clauses. ‘Who’ refers to individuals; ‘that’ refers to a group of persons, class, type, or species.
Given below is an exercise to illustrate the usage of pronouns and their agreement with verbs. Correct the underlined words.
- Every man must carry their own luggage.
- He has given great trouble to my mother and I.
- One should eat what he likes.
- Everyone on the project have to come to office.
- We should seek the company of people who are optimistic.
- She was one of the greatest teachers that has ever lived.
- Each of the students have done well.
- If anyone comes over, take their name.
- Neither he nor his wife were there.
- This is between her and I.
- No Correction
Comparisons here refer to those which can be logically made. We are not talking about comparing apples with oranges. Some key comparison words are
|less than||more than||other|
|that of||those of|
Wrong Usage : The teacher questioned the diligence of the math students compared to students of humanities.
Correct Usage : The teacher questioned the diligence of the math students compared to the diligence of the students of humanities.
The comparison has to be logical and two similar things should be compared, like the quality can be compared but we cannot compare a quality with a bunch of students. Following the same principle we have another example
Wrong Usage : The newer model weighed twenty grams less than the older one.
Correct Usage : The newer model weighed twenty grams less than the older one did.
OR The weight of the newer model was twenty grams less than the older one.
Following the rules mentioned above, correcting grammatically wrong sentences will not be very difficult. We can use a three- pronged strategy
- Read the sentence
- Try to figure out which rule the question is testing, if any.
- Eliminate answers
In some cases mere fluency is tested and we don’t have to think of a particular rule as such. Practice will definitely help.
Arti Mohan 🙂