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Answers for Pronoun Exercises

This resource was written by Tony Cimasko.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on November 12, 2008 .


This resource contains answers to ESL exercises on pronouns.

Take a look at the following sentences, identify the pronoun problems in each, and fix them.  When you are finished, check your responses with another student or with a teacher.

1. When a homemaker has three children, her life can be extraordinarily busy.

Although grammatically correct, use of the pronoun “she” implies that all homemakers are women.  To avoid implied sexism, use “his or her” or “her or his.”

2. I am working on a major chemistry project during the spring semester.  He will spend every Saturday in the lab.

The writer in this case begins with the first person (“I”), but then switches to the third person (“He”) in the second sentence.  The writer can be consistent by using “I” or “He” in both sentences.

3. Donnie and Alexander are checking over the tax forms.  He will sign the forms when they are ready.

Again, the problem is one of consistency:  the first sentence begins with two people, but the second sentence begins with a singular pronoun, to be followed later by a plural pronoun.  Change “He” to “They.”

4. Perfecting your resume and writing a cover letter are two of the most challenging parts of applying for a job.  When you are doing it, it’s best to think about exactly what the prospective employer needs.

In the second sentence, it is not clear to what the first pronoun “it” is referring:  perfecting your resume or writing a cover letter?  If the writer was referring to both, s/he needs to change the first “it” to “they.”  If the writer was referring to only one of these two things, s/he needs to change to “perfecting your resume” or “writing a cover letter,” without using a pronoun.

5. Paper and toner are two of the biggest expenses for this office.  It needs to be improved.

This is another case of singular-plural confusion.  Change “It” to “They.”

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