Antecedent is the grammatical term used to refer to the noun that a pronoun replaces.
An antecedent comes before a pronoun. A pronoun and its antecedent must agree in gender and number. For example, if the antecedent is singular and female, the pronoun must refer to a single female. If the antecedent is plural, then the pronoun must be plural as well.
It is important to make sure that your pronouns have clear antecedents. Sometimes the references are vague and the reader cannot figure out to whom a pronoun is referring.
Examples of Pronouns and Antecedents:
1. Jennifer = she or her
2. Bob and Chris = they or them
3. Kevin = he or him
Examples of Pronouns and Antecedents in a Sentence:
1. Marcus put his book on the table.
2. Mr. and Mrs. Samuels are painting their house.
3. Do you know if Marie invited Leslie to her party?
4. Lois, Mark, and I would like for you to come with us.
Examples of Sentences with Unclear Pronoun-Antecedent References:
1. Jeff handed his father his glove. (Does the glove belong to Jeff or his father?)
2. The soldiers taught the farmers how to use their weapons. (Do the weapons belong to the soldiers or the farmers?)
3. Karen left Josie's book on her desk. (Whose desk-Karen's or Josie's?)