What would be the right choice of pronoun for the sentences below from the choices in the parenthesis? Also what would be the correct antecedent from the choices in parenthesis?
1. Neither of the men has decided which team ________. (he prefers or they prefer)
Antecedent (Neither, team, or men)
2. Each of the short story writers has a style of ______ own. (her or their)
Antecedent (writer, style, Each)
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Just to add a note from the Traditional Grammar textbooks: neither and each are always classified as singular Indefinite Pronouns. That is, these two pronouns are defined as singular and must, therefore, take singular verbs and be substituted or referred to by other singular pronouns. (he, her)
In the example sentences, Neither and Each are the subjects of the sentence. "of the men" and "of the short story writers" are prepositional phrases and, therefore, are not considered as any part of the subject; instead, they modify the subject.
____Neither (subject)__ l__has decided___(Predicate)
Also, the student should note that the predicates of the sentences have singular verbs (has decided, has-respectivley), so it can be deduced that the subjects "neither" and "each," are singular in number and in person since subject-verb agreement is necessary in person and number.
Source: Bauer,Mary Beth, et. al., Grammar and Composition. London: Prentice-Hall. 1997.
Therefore, since Neither is singular, it demands a singular verb; likewise, Each is singular and also demands a singular verb since in English there is the grammatical rule called Subject/Verb agreement.
“Neither” and “each” are difficult words when it comes to subject-verb agreement. They both seem to be plural, but they are in fact singular. Therefore, verbs that are associated with them and the pronouns that refer to them must be singular as well.
In the first sentence, “neither” is a singular pronoun. We might think that it is plural because it refers to two men. However, it is actually singular because it refers to each of the men separately. Therefore, the correct ending for the sentence is “he prefers.” The antecedent of the pronoun “he” is “neither.” “He” cannot be referring to “men” because “men” are plural and “he” is singular.
The same thing is true of your second sentence. “Each” is a singular pronoun for the same reason that “neither” was singular in the first sentence. This means that the correct pronoun at the end of the sentence is “her” because “her” is singular. The antecedent of “her” is “each” because “her” is singular and “writers” is plural.
For the first one, 'he prefers' best fits into the sentence because neither is singular and for the second one 'her; is the right answer because each as well is singular so corresponds to a singular pronoun.
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