What Is an Antecedent? (with Examples)An antecedent is the word (or words) that a pronoun refers to.
The word antecedent means to go before in Latin. It gets its name from the idea that a pronoun refers to something previously mentioned in the sentence. Look at this example:
- When you see the professor, please tell him I'll be 10 minutes late this evening. (In this example, the antecedent is professor. It is the word that the pronoun him refers to. The word professor comes before the pronoun him. )
- When you see him, please tell the professor I'll be 10 minutes late this evening. (In this example, the antecedent is still professor even though it comes after its pronoun.)
More Examples of AntecedentsHere are some more examples of antecedents of pronouns:
- Gail called to say she will arrive at 7 o'clock. (In this example, Gail is the antecedent of the personal pronoun she.)
- The man who lives next door lost his driving licence. (In this example, man is the antecedent of the relative pronoun who and the possessive adjective (a type of pronoun) his.)
- Mark, did you see the whelk which Lee caught? (In this example, Mark is the antecedent of the personal pronoun you, and whelk is antecedent of the relative pronoun which.)