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Antecedent Definition & Meaning

Grade 7
Aug 30, 2022


  • An antecedents is the word that a pronoun refers to. 
  • In Latin, the word antecedents means “to go before”. 
  • It gets its name from the idea that a pronoun refers to something previously mentioned to the sentence. 
  • Example: “When you see the teacher, please tell her I’ll be ten minutes late to the assembly.” 
  • Teacher- Antecedent 

Her- Pronoun 

  • The antecedent of  a pronoun is a noun or noun phrase. 
  • Some times the pronoun might come before the antecedent. 
  • Examples: “When you see her, please tell the teacher I’ll be ten minutes late to the assembly.” 

Teacher- Antecedent 

  • A phrase or clause between the subject and verb does not change the number of antecedent. 
  • A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in number, gender, and person. 
  • If the antecedent is singular, a singular pronoun is required. 
  • The plural antecedent requires a plural pronoun. 
  • Let’s see some singular antecedents that require singular pronouns: 
  • Anybody, Anyone, Each, Either, Everybody, Everyone, Neither, Nobody, One, Somebody, Someone 
  • Singular antecedents that require singular pronouns. 
  • Singular antecedents joined by or/nor to be a singular pronoun. 

Example: John nor Dave could find his dress. 

  • Collective nouns may take either a singular or a plural pronoun, depending on the meaning of  the sentences. 

Example: The cast is having its picture taken.” 

  • Here the cast is considered to be one group. So, the singular pronoun is used. 


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