Antecedents Worksheets

About These 15 Worksheets

Antecedent worksheets are learning tools used in English language teaching, primarily focusing on the concept of pronouns and their antecedents. These worksheets provide exercises that help students understand how pronouns relate to the nouns they replace (antecedents) in sentences.

There 5 distinct types of Antecedent Worksheets:

  • Identification – These ask students to identify the antecedents in given sentences. For example “Emily loves her dog.” (Emily is the antecedent of “her”)
  • Matching Exercises – Students match pronouns with their antecedents. For example, given a list of pronouns and a list of antecedents, the task is to pair them correctly.
  • Corrections – These involve sentences with unclear or incorrect antecedent-pronoun relationships. Students must rewrite these sentences to ensure clear pronoun-antecedent agreement.
  • Completion – Students might be given sentences with missing pronouns or antecedents, and they have to fill in the blanks with appropriate words.
  • Creation – Students could be asked to create their own sentences with clear antecedents and pronouns.

What is the Antecedents of a Sentence?

An antecedent in a sentence is a word, phrase, or clause that is replaced by a pronoun (or other substitute) later in the sentence or in a subsequent sentence. Here’s an example:

“John is a doctor. He works in a hospital.”

In this case, “John” is the antecedent for the pronoun “he”. The pronoun “he” refers back to “John”, and so we say that “John” is the antecedent of “he”. The word “antecedent” comes from Latin, and it means “going before”.

A clear understanding of antecedents is important for maintaining clarity in communication and writing. In many cases, a sentence can be confusing or ambiguous if the antecedent isn’t clear. For example, in the sentence, “John told Jim that he failed,” the “he” could refer to either John or Jim, and the sentence could be clarified by identifying the correct antecedent.

How Do You Write Antecedents?

To write well-developed antecedents in a sentence, you should focus on clarity and precision. Here are some tips:

Clear Reference – Make sure your pronoun clearly refers to its antecedent. If you have two or more subjects in a sentence, using a pronoun later might lead to confusion. For instance, in the sentence, “When John met Mary, he said hi,” it’s not clear who “he” is referring to. A clearer sentence would be, “When John met Mary, John said hi.”

Close Proximity – Place the antecedent and its pronoun close together, especially for complex sentences. The further apart they are, the harder it is to determine what the pronoun is referring to.

Number Agreement – Ensure that singular antecedents are paired with singular pronouns, and plural antecedents with plural pronouns. For example, “The dog wags its tail” and “The dogs wag their tails” are correct. Mixing them up can cause confusion.

Gender Specification – When referring to people, use gender-specific pronouns only when the gender is known, otherwise use gender-neutral pronouns.

Clear Sequencing – In a sentence where multiple antecedents are followed by a pronoun, the pronoun usually refers to the nearest antecedent. For example, in “John gave Mary her book,” the pronoun “her” refers to Mary because it’s the nearest antecedent.

Avoid Vagueness – If your sentence has more than one potential antecedent, rewrite it to avoid confusion.