Lesson Plan: An Easy Way to Correct Pronoun-Antecedent Problems

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Students should be familiar with basic pronoun functions and types. If not, go over the basics. Part five of this series can help.

  • A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, gender, and person.
  • A singular pronoun must correspond to a singular antecedent.
    • The garbage man took away 25% more trash this holiday. He began dreaming of a green Christmas next year, one with less trash.
  • A plural pronoun must refer to a plural antecedent.
    • The garbage men worked hard. They wanted to go skiing in Colorado.
  • Pronouns that refer to a male or female must refer to the correct gender.
    • Fred drank milk before he ate dinner. Susan ate steak after she went home.

Students may smirk at the seeming simplicity of this lesson. They’ll stop smirking when they realize how many pronoun-antecedent agreement errors their own writing contains.

Procedures

You may wish to do a pronoun review before you begin. Part five of this series will help.

This activity should be done with a student’s rough draft. If a student doesn’t have a rough draft, make copies in advance of another rough draft. Another option is to use a piece of literature you are currently reading. Although corrections will be unnecessary, the identification practice will cement pronoun-antecedent information.

  • Instruct students to make four columns length wise on a slice of paper.
  • Identify all pronouns in the rough draft.
  • List all pronouns in column one with its corresponding antecedent in column 2. Once columns 1 and 2 are filled up, move on to columns 3 and 4.
  • If using this assignment with student rough drafts, have them check for correct agreement between their pronouns and their antecedents.
  • If there is a problem in agreement, have them revise that portion of their rough draft.
  • Do some examples on the board. Don’t assume they will immediately recognize errors.

Click here for a complete 1st semester curriculum map for language arts with lesson plans and links.

This post is part of the series: Better Grammar Equals Better Writing

Grammar builds the foundation for good writing: the better the grammar, the better the writing.
  1. Teaching Students How to Combine Sentences and Improve their Writing
  2. Lesson Plan: Eliminate Weak Verb-Adverb Combinations
  3. Lesson Plan: Eliminate "To Be" Verbs
  4. Lesson Plan: Write With Strong Verbs
  5. Lesson Plan: Active Voice vs. Passive Voice
  6. Revising Pronouns and Antecedents with this Lesson Plan
  7. Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Made Easy
  8. Lesson Plan: Understanding Independent and Dependent Clauses
  9. Teach Your Kids to Eliminate Fragments and Run-ons in Their Writing
  10. Lesson Plan: Use Parts of Speech to Improve Sentence Beginnings