Grammar: Pronouns and their antecedents

A pronoun takes the place of a noun 
Who instead of “mankind”; he (x2) instead of “son”;  my instead of “Solomon”; I (x2) instead of “Solomon”; myself instead of “Solomon”.

Pronouns and their antecedents

From A New English Grammar for Schools, by Thomas Harvey

1. A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun.

his book; my house; “Whom did you see?”

2. The antecedent of a pronoun is the noun, or equivalent expression, which the pronoun replaces.

a. The antecedent usually precedes, but sometimes follows, the pronoun.
“The poor widow lost her only son.”
Here “widow” is the antecedent of “her.”
b. Sometimes the antecedent follows the pronoun.
“True to his flag, the soldier braved even death.”
“Soldier” is the antecedent of “his.”

3. The antecedent may be a noun, a different pronoun, a phrase, or a clause.

a. Noun antecedent
A pupil that is studious will learn.
“Pupil” is the noun antecedent of “that.”
b. Pronoun antecedent
He who runs may stumble.
“He” is the pronoun antecedent of “who.”
c. Phrase antecedent
He desired to pray, but it was denied him.
“To pray” is the phrase antecedent of “it.”
d. Clause antecedent
She has squandered her money, and she now regrets it.
He has squandered his money” is the clause antecedent of “it.”

4. The antecedent may be omitted, in which case it is said to be understood.

Who steals my purse steals trash.
“The person,” or “he,” understood, is the antecedent of “who.”

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