In English grammar, an antecedent can be any noun that is usually referred back by a pronoun. For instance,
- Sarah was with her friends. I am sure, they went to their favorite spot.
In the above example, the antecedent is ‘Sarah and her friends’ who is linked to the personal pronoun ‘they’. You must note here that without an antecedent, you cannot identify who is basically a pronoun in a sentence.
Like, if we remove the first sentence and only mention ‘I am sure, they went to their favorite spot’, then it would be impossible for anyone to know about ‘they’. So, it is necessary for an antecedent to be identified before a pronoun. In this case, the antecedent, ‘Sarah and her friends’, helps a person know about ‘they’.
Use of Antecedent and Pronoun within a Sentence
You have seen in the above discussion that there are two separate sentences. First one has an antecedent and the next one is referring back to that antecedent with a personal pronoun. However, in this case, it is not the strict rule of having two separate sentences. Some sentences have an antecedent and a pronoun used in the same sentence. For instance,
- Sarah likes to sing her own song.
In the above example, you can see that there is a personal pronoun ‘her’. This case is acceptable because the antecedent ‘Sarah’ stands for this particular personal pronoun. However, if you remove the antecedent ‘Sarah’, then it would be impossible for anyone to identify ‘her’. So, in this case, the antecedent is important to be identified before the pronoun is used.
Examples of Antecedents with Different Types of Pronouns
With Personal Pronouns > I, me, you, he, him, she, her, it, we, us, they, them.
1. My mother loves to paint her own imagination.
2. Jack has slept, that is why he cannot join the evening party.
3. The Led is pretty awesome. I really liked its new features.
With Relative Pronouns > where, which, whom, who, that.
1. I met the girl who was crying yesterday at the stadium.
2. The floral printed dress that you liked is one of my most favorite dresses.
3. I will meet you at the side road, where you used to go every morning.
With Demonstrative Pronouns > this, these, that, those.
1. I cannot believe that you actually created your own painting without any help. This is looking beautiful and amazing.
2. You need to be focused and well disciplined. These are the two main important points to be a successful business man.
3. Sarah wants to get top grades in her final exams. That will help her in earning a good reputation.
Note: In all of the above examples, you can see that singular antecedents are following singular pronouns. On the other hand, plural antecedents need to be followed plural pronouns. Sometimes, it happens that writers do use singular pronouns with plural antecedents or plural pronouns with singular antecedents. You must be very careful about it as; it will be considered your writing grammatically incorrect.
It is concluded that an antecedent is a noun which is referred back by a pronoun. There is a link between an antecedent and a pronoun. Without an antecedent, one cannot understand to whom a pronoun is referring. So, it is necessary for an antecedent to be identified before.