Pronoun Usage Someone had left their tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. This sentence has a…

Pronoun Usage Someone had left their tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. This sentence has a problem with pronoun usage in that there is a plural personal possessive pronoun, but someone is a singular pronoun. Therefore, the sentence contains an error in agreement. One can fix this error in four different ways. The first is to correct the error. Someone had left HIS or HER tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. This uses a singular personal possessive pronoun of his/her which does agree with the singular someone. Another way to correct the sentence is to use a plural subject. For example, both of my brothers left their tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. Here, the pronoun BOTH agrees with the pronoun their in that they are both plural. A third way to fix the error is to remove the pronoun altogether. The sentence would sound like this: Someone had left tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. Of course this one does not imply that the shoes left necessarily belonged to the someone in question. Finally, one can avoid the confusion with the pronoun someone by using a more obviously singular subject. For example, a person left his or her tennis shoes in the middle of the floor. Or, my mother left her tennis shoes in the middle of the floor, or my father left his tennis shoes in the middle of the floor.

 

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