A. Here’s the problem:
It’s remarkably easy to be careless about pronoun-antecedent agreement, but few writing errors short of rampant sentence fragments or failure to spell-check are more revealing of a paper that was turned in without being carefully proofread. Those of you who aren’t detail people sometimes have the toughest time with this one.
B. What to do:
Check and double-check. Check with an editing partner. Make sure singular antecedents get singular pronouns. Same with plural. You know the rules; it’s just a matter of finding the mistakes and fixing them when you revise.
C. Example: Several marriages are presented in the novel, each with their own conflict and each with their own purpose.
Corrected Version: Several marriages are presented in the novel, each with its own conflict and each with its own purpose.
D. Now you try—write corrected versions of the following sentences.
1. When an author writes a novel, they labor over the right word to use to describe the person, place, situation, or thing in the novel.
2. Each of these marriages have their own ironies and each strongly contrast to the others.
E. For more information or additional practice, check the following source: