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Personal Pronoun Usage Quiz

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Personal Pronoun Usage Quiz

Test your usage of personal pronouns with this short quiz. Pick the correct pronoun from those in parentheses. Check the end of the quiz for answers and explanations. Good luck!


  1. Tom left (he, his) cell phone at the office.


  1. Susie and (I, me) visited the museum.
  1. When I met my new neighbor, I learned that the gray cat I have seen wandering around the neighborhood belongs to (he, him).


  1. Ellen is an adult. The decision whether or not to finish college is (her, hers).


  1. After much deliberation, the committee decided to make Marcus and (I, me) co-directors of the department.


  1. The directions say to look for a building with an octopus painted on (its, it’s) side.


  1. You should always be consistent in (your, ones) pronoun usage.


  1. A writer needs to cite (his or her, their) sources in order to avoid committing plagiarism.


  1. Everyone who teaches English should know the strengths and weakness of (his or her, their) students.


  1. There is no reason to attend the conference on Thursday. The representatives from the (other, others) companies are not scheduled to arrive until Friday afternoon.



Answers and Explanations


  1. Correct answer: his. Explanation: Because the pronoun is immediately followed by a noun (“cell phone”), it is functioning as a possessive adjective. The “cell phone” belongs to “Tom.” “His” can function as a possessive adjective but “he” cannot.


  1. Correct answer: I. Explanation: The pronoun in this sentence is part of a compound subject. “I” is a subject pronoun. “Me” is an object pronoun.


  1. Correct answer: him. The pronoun is functioning as the object of the preposition “to” in this sentence. A preposition can’t take a subject pronoun such as “he” as its object.


  1. Correct answer: hers. While the pronoun in sentence 1 is functioning as a possessive adjective, the pronoun in this sentence is fulfilling the role of a possessive pronoun. “Her” would be correct only if a noun immediately followed the pronoun. For example: Whether or not to finish college is her decision.


  1. Correct answer: me. Explanation: The pronoun in this sentence is part of a compound object (“Marcus and me”). “I” is a subject pronoun, meaning that it can’t be used as the object (or part of the object) of a sentence.


  1. Correct answer: its. Explanation: Remember that possessive pronouns do not take apostrophes. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.”


  1. Correct answer: your. Explanation: You need to be consistent when using “one” or “you” as impersonal pronouns. Switching between them within the same sentence results in a parallelism error.


  1. Correct answer: his or her. Explanation: “A writer” is a singular generic noun. It refers to writers in general. You need to use a singular pronoun with a singular generic noun. (“His” or “her” would also be acceptable, but “his or her” is considered more inclusive.) You could also rewrite this sentence with a plural generic noun: Writers should always cite their sources in order to avoid committing plagiarism.


  1. Correct answer: his or her OR Explanation: “Everyone” is an indefinite pronoun. Using a plural pronoun such as “their” with an indefinite pronoun is acceptable when speaking or writing informally. However, a singular pronoun (“his/her/his or her”) is more grammatically correct and should be used in formal writing.


  1. Correct answer: other. Explanation: Forms of “other” can function as both pronouns and adjectives. We know that “other” is fulfilling the latter role in this sentence because a noun (“companies”) comes between it and the verb “are.” You could only add the final –s if the sentence was rewritten to omit the interrupting noun: The others are not scheduled to arrive until Friday afternoon.