Skidmore Guide to Writing Index
Agreement means consistency. That is, if a noun is singular, it takes a singular verb form or pronoun; if a noun is plural, it takes a plural verb form or pronoun.
Here are some examples of noun-verb agreement.
I am at home. ("am" agrees with the subject, "I")
Pronouns take the place of nouns. If a pronoun replaces a subject, use these pronouns: I, she, he, it, they, we.
My brother and I will go to Florida in May.
If pronouns come after a preposition in a sentence, use these pronouns: me, her, him, it, them, us.
Send a reply to Sally and me.
Here is a typical pronoun error:
Me and her went to the movies.
"Me" and "her" cannot be used as the subject of a sentence. Therefore, the correct sentence is
She and I went to the movies.
Here's another example of the same type of error:
The pizza was divided between my roommate and I.
Since the pronoun comes after the preposition "between," the sentence should read
The pizza was divided between my roommate and me.
A singular pronoun should replace a singular noun; a plural pronoun should replace a plural noun. Here, for example, is a very common pronoun mistake with a few possible revisions:
Any Skidmore student can decorate their dorm room with posters.
This is grammatically incorrect because "Any Skidmore student" refers to a single student, and the pronoun "their" is a plural possessive pronoun. (In the same way, "each Skidmore student" refers to a single student, not to everyone.) There are two ways to revise such a sentence:
Any Skidmore student can decorate his or her dorm room with posters.
If you want to avoid gender bias in choosing pronouns, changing a noun to a plural can help solve the problem. In general, overusing "his or her" construction makes writing awkward.
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