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Writing Style

Pronouns (pro)

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns.

Use pronouns so you do not have to repeat the same noun sentence after sentence.

Watch this introductory lesson. this short lesson, or this extended lesson on pronoun reference in our LC elearning modules class in D2L.

Two Main Rules for Using Pronouns

1. A pronoun and the noun it refers to should agree in number: singular or plural.


Community health nurses face different types of challenges. These could be related to differences in culture, religion, or language.


2. Who or what a pronoun refers to needs to be clear; if this is not clear, the reader may be confused or misunderstand your meaning.


Yoga can be used as a complimentary treatment for lower back pain. It can be used as an alternative to medications. 

**"It" is meant to refer to "Yoga" but the reader may think it refers to "lower back pain."**

Correction: To ensure the meaning of the above sentences are clear, you would need to repeat the word "yoga" at the start of each sentence:

Yoga can be used as a complimentary treatment for lower back pain. Yoga can be used as an alternative to medications.



Watch this 3-minute introduction to using pronouns.

RRU Writing Centre. (2018, June 8). Vague pronouns [Video]. YouTube.


Watch this 4-minute video on pronoun agreement.

SupertutorTV. (2016, November 1). Pronoun agreement errors: Celebrity grammar with Kanye West [Video]. YouTube.


Watch this 7-minute extended lesson on using pronouns.

The Nature of Writing. (2017, May 19). Pronoun reference -- Sentence structure -- The nature of writing [Video]. YouTube.


More Information

"Pronoun Agreement," Robin L. Simmons

"Pronoun Reference," Townson University

"Basic Grammar and Punctuation: Pronouns," St. Petersburg College (exercises)