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Teacher Tips and Answers

Editing Argument Essays

After you complete major revisions to your argument essay, you should edit it to make sure every word and punctuation mark is correct. Among other issues, you'll make sure that you have correctly used pronouns and commas. The activities that follow will help. You'll also use a checklist to finalize your editing.

Editing to Correct Pronoun Usage

A pronoun is a word that stands in the place of a noun or another pronoun (its antecedent). The most familiar pronouns are I, me, my; we, us, our, ours; you, your, yours; he, she, it, they, their, theirs. A pronoun needs to agree with its antecedent. That means both need to have the same person (first, second, or third), the same number (singular or plural), and the same gender (masculine, feminine, neuter, or indeterminate).


Carlos brought his guitar. (Carlos and his are both third person, singular, and masculine: they agree.)

I played my bass. (I and my are both first person, singular, and indeterminate.)

The band members practiced their parts before rehearsal. (Members and their are both third-person, plural, and indeterminate.)

Sometimes a singular pronoun replaces a word such as anybody, anyone, everybody, everyone, nobody, no one, somebody, or someone. Notice how these words are third person, singular, and indeterminate, but English has no such personal pronoun to replace it.

Agreement Errors

Someone left their assignment here. (Someone is singular but their is plural.)

Someone left his assignment here. (Someone is indeterminate but his is masculine.)

You can fix the problem by using alternate pronouns (her or his) or rewriting the sentence to avoid the problem.

Corrected Agreement

Someone left her or his assignment here.

I found someone's assignment here.

Students should make sure they didn't leave their assignments behind.

Most pronouns change form to create possessives. A personal pronoun with an apostrophe s is a contraction, not a possessive. Make sure to use the correct form.

Possessive Pronouns

your, its, their, whose

Contractions with Pronouns

you're, it's, they're, who's

Fix pronoun use.

In each sentence below, fix pronoun usage. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template. Afterward, review your essay and correct any pronoun errors that you find.

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