Strategies for Perfecting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement with Practice in SAT Grammar

What is Pronoun Antecedent Agreement?

Pronoun antecedent agreement requires a pronoun and antecedent to agree in person and number

  1. Incorrect: The apples are on the table, and it looks fresh.
  2. Correct: The apples are on the table, and they look fresh.


  • In both of these sentences, the pronouns refers to the noun “apples”.
  • Since “apples” is a plural noun, it needs to be paired with the plural pronoun “they” not “it”.

SAT advice

In SAT pronoun-antecedent (number) agreement is when one choice uses a singular pronoun (like “it”) while another choice uses a plural pronoun (like “they”), and the pronoun refers to a noun contained in the choices.

There are also gender and person agreement which are not as common in questions but these may use he/she/it or my/she/hers for example in the options.

SAT strategy

  • find the antecedent 
  • is it singular or plural?
  • match the pronoun


  • find the antecedent – the apples
  • is it singular or plural? – plural
  • match the pronoun – they

SAT tips

  • In the SAT there will be a blank, plug in the choices to see what you think is the answer.
  • Still no, try the antecedent in the blank, then think which option seems the best.

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement- Level 1

one book- it, two books – they

  • The book is on the table. It is open.
  • The book is often used. It is interesting.
  • Two books are stacked neatly on the shelf. They are very tidy.
  • In the library, two books are borrowed regularly. They are popular.

Exercise 1.1 : singular or plural?

  1. The students finished their tests. _______ are ready to leave. she or they
  2. A dog barked loudly. _______  scared the neighbors. it or they
  3. The flowers are blooming. _______  look beautiful. it or they
  4. My sister has a new phone. _______  is very shiny. it or they
  5. The children played outside all day. _______ had a great time. he or they
  6. The team won the championship. _______ celebrated their victory. it or they

Exercise 1.2: singular or plural?

  1. The cake / cakes on the table look delicious. It is homemade.
  2. The dog / dogs in the park wore a colorful collar. It seemed happy.
  3. The computer / computers in the lab are new. They are fast.
  4. My brother / brothers visited me last weekend. He brought gifts.
  5. The painting / paintings on the wall are beautiful. They were painted by a local artist.
  6. The student / students in the class completed their homework. They handed it in on time.

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement - Level 2 (1)

In these sentences, the antecedent is singular as it is treated as one 

  • antecedents  = student, manager, book, each student, child, doctor
  • pronouns = she, he, it, he or she, he, she
  1. The student in the room raised her hand when asked a question. She was eager to participate.
  2. The manager reviewed their reports before the meeting. He discussed their findings.
  3. The book that is on the table is very interesting. It discusses various scientific theories. It provides a comprehensive overview.
  4. Each student who completed their assignment early received extra credit. He or she was rewarded for the effort.
  5. The child who won the race was excited. He could not stop smiling.
  6. The doctor who treated the patient was experienced. She provided excellent care.

In these sentences, the antecedent is plural

  • antecedents  = team of scientists, committee, all the students, authors, athletes, employees
  • pronouns = they
  1. The team of scientists presented their findings at the conference; it was well-received by the audience. They were applauded for their work.
  2. The committee has made their decision; they will announce it tomorrow. They have reached a conclusion.
  3. All the students submitted their assignments on time. They were diligent with their work.
  4. The authors who wrote the novels won awards. They were celebrated at the ceremony.
  5. The athletes who competed in the tournament showed determination. They impressed the judges.
  6. The employees who attended the training session received certificates. They felt proud of their achievement.

Exercise 2.1: 

  1. The team of scientists diligently worked on ______ research projects. their or her
  2. The committee that oversees the project will be meeting next week. ______ has an important decision to make. they or it
  3. Each of the books covers a different aspect of history. Readers often appreciate ______ detailed analysis. its or their
  4. The herd of elephants grazes peacefully. They enjoy the tranquility of ____ habitat. its or their
  5. The group of friends go to a new restaurant every weekend. Last week, ______ favourite was the new Italian place. its or their
  6. The collection of rare coins displayed at the museum is very impressive. Visitors admire ______ unique designs and historical significance. its or their

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement - Level 2 (2)

Pronoun agreement refers to the grammatical rule that a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number, gender, and person. Here are the key aspects of pronoun agreement:

  1. Number Agreement: A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number (singular or plural). For example:
  •   Singular: The student lost her book.
  •   Plural: The students lost their books.
  1. Gender Agreement: A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender (male, female, or neutral). For example:
  •    Male: The boy forgot his backpack.
  •    Feminine: The girl forgot her backpack.
  •    Neutral: “The child forgot their backpack.” (Note: “their” is often used as a singular pronoun to avoid specifying gender.)
  1. Person Agreement: A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in person (first person, second person, or third person). For example:
  •  First person: “I lost my keys.
  •  Second person: You lost your keys.
  •  Third person: She lost her keys.


  1. The teacher asked each student to bring their notebook to class.
  2. If a player wants to improve, he must practice every day.
  3. Maria loves her new bike because it is fast and sleek.
  4. When the kids finished their homework, they went outside to play.
  5. The committee reached its decision after much deliberation.
  6. Every member of the team wore their uniform proudly during the game.
  7. I left my umbrella at the office yesterday.
  8. If anyone finds the missing book, please return it to the library.
  9. Your friends are waiting for you at the park.
  10. John took his jacket off because it was too warm.

Exercises 2.2

  1. Despite the complexity of the experiment, each student meticulously recorded his/her/their observations in a detailed report.
  2. If an athlete desires to excel in their sport, he or she/they must adhere to a strict training regimen and diet.
  3. Isabella was thrilled to showcase her artwork at the gallery, knowing that it/they represented months of dedication.
  4. After completing their group project, the children eagerly presented its/their findings to the class, confident in their research.
  5. The jury reached its/theirs unanimous verdict after hours of careful deliberation and review of the evidence.
  6. Every participant in the marathon wore his/their race number with pride, each determined to finish the course.
  7. I inadvertently left my laptop at the conference, realizing only when I needed to prepare my/his presentation.
  8. Should anyone come across the missing manuscript, please ensure that it/they is returned to the editor’s desk immediately.
  9. Your colleagues have been waiting for you to join the meeting so that she/they can begin the important discussion.
  10. David adjusted his tie nervously before the interview, hoping his/its preparation would pay off in securing the job.

Exercises 2.3

1. The board of directors disagrees on the company’s new direction. ______ will meet again next week to resolve the issue.

  • a) It
  • b) They
  • c) He
  • d) She

2. Neither the teachers nor the principal ______ happy with the budget cuts.

  • a) is
  • b) are
  • c) were
  • d) was

3. The flock of birds suddenly changed ______ course, veering sharply to the east.

  • a) its
  • b) their
  • c) it’s
  • d) his

4. Each of the contestants must present ______ project to the judges within five minutes.

  • a) their
  • b) his or her
  • c) its
  • d) they’re

5. The jury listened attentively to the evidence before ______ reached a verdict.

  • a) it
  • b) they
  • c) he
  • d) she

6. The class was divided in ______ opinion about the new grading system.

  • a) its
  • b) their
  • c) it’s
  • d) his

7. Everyone in the apartment complex must pay ______ rent by the first of the month.

  • a) their
  • b) his or her
  • c) its
  • d) they’re

8. The group of tourists, excited by the sights, forgot ______ was supposed to meet the guide at noon.

  • a) it
  • b) they
  • c) he
  • d) she

9. Either the manager or the employees ______ responsible for the project’s success.

  • a) is
  • b) are
  • c) were
  • d) was

10. The orchestra, led by its new conductor, impressed the audience with ______ flawless performance.

  • a) its
  • b) their
  • c) it’s
  • d) his

Pronoun Antecedent Agreement - Level 3


Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English? Choose 1 answer:

When a fire burns red or green or blue, the color of its flames ______ the chemical composition of the combustible material.

  • A indicate
  • B indicates
  • C have indicated
  • D are indicating

A Neapolitan pizza made with San Marzano tomatoes ______ considered more traditional than one made with any other type of tomatoes.

  • A are
  • B have been
  • C is
  • D were

The sum of money one donates to registered nonprofit organizations ______ a deduction that can be made from one’s taxable income.

  • A represent
  • B represents
  • C have represented
  • D are representing

Called embouchure, the shape of a skilled trumpet player’s lips ______ for playing a wide range of notes with clear tone and without muscle strain.

  • A allows
  • B are allowing
  • C allow
  • D have allowed

Examples are edited from Khan Academy

Exercises 3 (1)

1.1 In an effort to reduce water evaporation in the Los Angeles reservoir, 96 million “shade balls” were dropped into the water. We are proven to reduce evaporation by 85-90 percent.

  • A No Change
  • B they are
  • C it is
  • D he is

1.2 When tourists visit the Las Vegas Strip, you will find Paris, Venice, pirates and a volcano—all within a four-mile stretch!

  • A No Change
  • B yours
  • C we
  • D they

1.3 When we won the lottery, we didn’t expect that dozens of long lost relatives would show up on our doorstep.

  • A No Change
  • B their
  • C one’s
  • D its

1.4 Apple, a technology company known for creating innovative gadgets and software, launched myself into the streaming wars with Apple TV+.

  • A No Change
  • B themselves
  • C itself
  • D himself

1.5 As the children sang along to the old songs of The Sound of Music, they began to feel happy.

  • A No Change
  • B she
  • C you
  • D it

Exercises 3 (2)

2.1 Woolly rhinos once made its home in places as diverse as Scotland and South Korea.

  • A No Change
  • B his
  • C our
  • D their

2.2 Because frog eggs have no shell, yet must be kept hydrated to ensure proper development, external moisture is imperative for its development.

  • A No Change
  • B his
  • C their
  • D own

2.3 Although the black-tailed jackrabbit and the antelope jackrabbit appear nearly identical, tiny differences in ear size, fur coloring, and speed mark them as separate species.

  • A No Change
  • B it
  • C us
  • D this

2.4 The Phantom of the Opera holds the record for longest running Broadway show. Since its premiere in 1988, they have been staged nearly 11,500 times.

  • A No Change
  • B one has
  • C he has
  • D it has

2.5 Though kangaroos seem docile, males can be fiercely competitive when he searches for mates.

  • A No Change
  • B it searches
  • C they search
  • D she searches

Exercises 3 (3)

Starfish are, remarkably, able to clone itself by literally tearing off a limb; that limb then undergoes its own process of rapid cell regeneration.

  • A No Change
  • B himself
  • C themselves
  • D oneself

People with rich imaginations tend to be talented architects because she can visualize how to manipulate spaces.

  • A No Change
  • B one
  • C they
  • D you

Unlike cows in pastures, when salmon are penned into breeding pools, he tries to escape

  • A No Change
  • B they try
  • C it tries
  • D she tries

Although robots will one day help with household chores, it will never completely replace human cleaners.

  • A No Change
  • B they
  • C he
  • D you

China’s Great Green Wall is the government’s full-fledged attempt to intentionally increase forest cover through tree planting projects, but scientists have yet to determine its effectiveness.

  • A No Change
  • B their
  • C this
  • D that

Exercises edited from Khan Academy


Exercise 1.1:

  1. they
  2. it
  3. they
  4. it
  5. they
  6. it

Exercise 1.2:

  1. The cake on the table looks delicious. It is homemade.
  2. The dog in the park wore a colorful collar. It seemed happy.
  3. The computers in the lab are new. They are fast.
  4. My brother visited me last weekend. He brought gifts.
  5. The paintings on the wall are beautiful. They were painted by a local artist.
  6. The students in the class completed their homework. They handed it in on time.

Exercise 2.1:

  1. their
  2. it
  3. its
  4. their
  5. their
  6. its

Exercise 2.2:

  1. their
  2. they
  3. it
  4. their
  5. its
  6. their
  7. my
  8. it
  9. they
  10. his

Exercise 2.3

  1. b) They
  2. b) are
  3. a) its
  4. b) his or her
  5. b) they
  6. b) their
  7. a) their
  8. b) they
  9. b) are
  10. a) its

Exercise 3 (1): 1.1 B (they are) 1.2 D (they) 1.3 A (No Change) 1.4 C (itself) 1.5 A (No Change)

Exercise 3 (2): 2.1 D (their) 2.2 C (their) 2.3 A (No Change) 2.4 D (it has) 2.5 C (they search)

Exercise 3 (3):

  1. C (themselves)
  2. C (they)
  3. B (they try)
  4. B (they)
  5. A (No Change)

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