Interpreting Instructor Comments

— Agreement

If your instructor circles or marks more than one pronoun or a combination of nouns and pronouns, you may need to revise for agreement. Generally speaking, pronouns should reflect the person and number of the noun they refer to. The examples below will help illustrate and explain these terms.

In this example, the instructor has underlined two words to draw the writer's attention to their relationship.

In the example above, the writer chooses the plural "they" to refer to "a person's," which is a singular noun. While current conventions lean toward relaxing this rule, most college writing instructors still consider "his or her" the most accurate pronoun choice in this case. Click here for more information on pronouns.

In this example, the instructor indicates that the nouns and pronouns need to agree: "one" is singular, while "they" and "themselves" are plural.

To revise, the writer could simply opt to use all plurals:

It is only this acceptance and understanding that will allow the couple to learn that the symbolic complex of Mexico is a fictitious expectation, and soon they will discover the authentic experience for themselves.

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