Double subjects

We all know that every sentence must have a subject. Sometimes we incorrectly use a double subject – a noun and a pronoun – to name the same person, place, or thing.

Incorrect Correct

Jane she is my cousin. Jane is my cousin.

She is my cousin.

Her scarf it is pretty. Her scarf is pretty.

It is pretty.

Jane and she should not be used as subjects together.

The subject her scarf should not be used together with it.

Use only a noun or a pronoun to name a subject


Pronouns and their Antecedents

The antecedent of a pronoun is a noun or another pronoun for which the pronoun stands. A personal pronoun, you will remember, is used in place or a noun. The noun is the word to which the pronouns refer and it is therefore its antecedent. The noun usually comes first, either in the same sentence or in the sentence before it.

Examples: We met Mureithi.

He is the medical doctor.

(He stands for Mureithi.

Mureithi is the antecedent).

The students had come to school with their mobile phones.

(Their stands for students. Students is the antecedent).

Pronouns may be the antecedents of other pronouns.


Examples: Does everybody have his booklet?

(everybody, which is a singular indefinite pronoun, is the antecedent of his).

All of the students have brought theirs.

(All, which is a plural indefinite pronoun, is the antecedent of theirs).

Now, a pronoun must agree with its antecedent in number.

Agree here means that the pronoun must be the same in number as its antecedent.

The word number means singular or plural.

If the pronoun is singular, the word that it stands for must be singular, and it must be plural if the word it stands for is plural.


Examples: Correct: The scientists tested their new discovery (Scientists is plural; their is plural.)

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Incorrect: The scientists tested his new discovery.

Correct: Mr.Kiama turned on his TV.

(Mr Kiama is singular; his is singular)

Correct: Nobody left her workstation

(Nobody is singular, her is singular)

NB: When the antecedent refers to both males and females, it is best to use the phrase his or her.


Use of we and us with nouns.

Phrases such as we students and us girls are often incorrectly used.

To tell which pronoun to use, drop the noun and say the sentence without it.

Problem: (We, Us) boys study hard.

Solution: We study hard = We boys study hard.

Problem: The DC praised (us, we) students.

Solution: The DC praised us = The DC praised us students


Using the pronoun them

The word them is always a pronoun.

It is always used as the object of a verb or a preposition, never as a subject.

Examples: Correct: The president greeted them (direct object of the verb greeted)

Correct: She gave them a Sandwich (Indirect object of the verb gave)

Correct: The information was useful to them (object of the preposition to)

InCorrect:Them they arrived late.


Using Those

Although we previously said that those is used as a demonstrative pronouns, it is sometimes used as an adjective i.e. a word that modifies a noun or a pronoun.

If a noun appears immediately after it, those is now an adjective, not a pronoun.

Examples: Those are the new desks that were bought.

(Those is a pronoun, the subject of the verb are).

Those desks are attractive.

(Those is an adjective modifying the noun desks).


Exercise 13

Each of the following sentences has a double subject.

Write each correctly.

  1. Papa Shirandula he is a good actor.
  2. Many people they find him funny.
  3. The show it was on television for many years.
  4. Their daughter she is also in that show.
  5. The shoes they are beautiful.
  6. People they like our hotel.
  7. My brother he drives a matatu.
  8. Our hotel it is open seven days a week.
  9. The TV it is very clear today.
  10. My brother and sister they work in Nairobi.

Exercise 1

Pick the correct pronoun in the brackets in the following sentences.

  1. (We, Us) students started a school magazine last month.
  2. Many careers are unpromising.

(Them, Those) are the ones to avoid.

  1. One of (them, those) motivational speakers was especially interesting.
  2. A financial analyst told (we, us) students about his work.
  3. Finding jobs was important to (we, us) graduates.


Answers on Pronouns

Exercise 1

  1. They ate fish and chips.
  2. We like Italian food.
  3. It is delicious
  4. The biggest eater was he.
  5. You helped in the cooking.
  6. The cooks were Tom and I.

Exercise 2

  1. They were under the table.
  2. She fed the chicken.
  3. They were juicy.
  4. They visited the orphans.
  5. The new waitress is she.
  6. The fastest runners were Tecla and she.
  7. She went to the hall.
  8. It was slaughtered.
  9. Lucky Dube and she were South African singers.
  10. He has won many athletics medals.


Exercise 3

  1. Lisa asked him for a picture.
  2. Adam sketched Lisa and me.
  3. He gave a photo to us.
  4. Ann and she saw Dave and Bob.
  5. Adam drew Lisa and them.
  6. Mark helped me with the packing.
  7. Loise praised him for his good work.
  8. Everyone spotted them easily.
  9. That night Mike played the guitar for us.
  10. We drove with them to the mountains.

Exercise 4

  1. My journey to Mombasa was enjoyable.
  2. Florence said hers was the best.
  3. Are the pictures of Fort Jesus yours?
  4. Hers are about Jomo Kenyatta Beach.
  5. Tomorrow we will make frames for our pictures.
  6. My class is planning a trip to the United Kingdom
  7. Our trip will be taken on video.
  8. Micere is excited that the idea was hers.
  9. Koki and Toti cannot hide their excitement.
  10. My dream is to climb to the highest peak of the mountain.

Exercise 5

  1. You will = You’ll
  2. we would = we’d
  3. he had = he’d
  4. I am = I’m
  5. you have = you’ve
  6. they will = they’ll


Exercise 6

  1. I’ll = I will
  2. We’re = we are
  3. You’d = you would, you had
  4. He’s = he is, he has
  5. They’re = they are 6. She’d = she would, she had

Exercise 7

  1. Its 2. They’re 3 it’s 4. Who’s  5. Whose

Exercise 8

  1. All – are 6. Everyone – his
  2. Anybody – has 7. Several – their
  3. Many – believe 8. Anyone – her
  4. Each – makes 9. Another – his
  5. All – indicates 10. Somebody – her

Exercise 9

  1. This                      3. Those                5. These
  2. That                     4. Those


Exercise 10

  1. Who                    3. What
  2. Whom
  3. Whom                    4. What

Exercise 11

  1. Who 6. Whom
  2. Whom 7. Whose
  3. Whom 8. Who
  4. Whose 9. Who
  5. Who 10. Whose

Exercise 12

  1. Myself – intensive
  2. Himself – intensive
  3. Herself – reflexive
  4. Herself – reflexive
  5. Yourself – reflexive


Exercise 13

  1. Papa Kingsley is a good actor.
  2. Many people find him funny.
  3. The show was on television for many years.
  4. Their daughter is also in that show.
  5. The shoes are beautiful.
  6. People like our hotel.
  7. My brother drives a tricycle.
  8. Our hotel is open seven days a week.
  9. The TV is very clear today.
  10. My brother and sister work in Nairobi.

Exercise 1

  1. We                        3. Those           5. Us
  2. Those                   4. Us


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