Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
An antecedent is a phrase, clause, or word that is later referred back to by an earlier word, noun, or phrase. Usually the pronoun that is referring to something else should match the antecedent to which it refers. If the antecedent is singular, so is the pronoun that references it. If the antecedent is a group, or plural, the antecedent must also be plural.
- The dog at the shelter is loud and energetic, but we still really like him.
The antecedent in the sentence is the underlined word “dog.” The sentence continues and then uses the underlined word “him” to refer back to the dog. Instead of using the word “dog” again, we simply could put the pronoun “him” in the dog’s place. Since we already mentioned the dog once, we know to what or to whom we are referring.
We use this quite often in our daily lives. Most of the time we do not even give the antecedent. For instance, if you are in conversation, and you both spot someone you know, you may refer to that person without giving their name first. You may say, “Oh, he, is just so nice to everyone.” The antecedent here is missing. Instead the antecedent is implied between the two speakers who are both looking at the same person who is passing in front of them. He refers to the physical person they are talking about but have not introduced into the conversation. The pronoun here refers to an implied antecedent.
Notice in both examples that the pronoun that replaced the referenced subject matches the subject. The dog in the first example was replaced by “him” because the dog is a singular, male dog. It was not replaced by “it” or “they.” Instead, the gender and number of the subject matches the pronoun used. Since the person passing in front of the two speakers in the second example is presumably one man, the pronoun used was “he.”
Antecedents can also be abstract concepts or ideas, instead of physical people, places, or animals. Take the following example into consideration:
Sometimes love tricks you into believing things, and it also makes you do silly and crazy things.
The idea here is the abstract and intangible concept of “love.” As the sentence continues, the concept of love is referred to again. Instead of saying “love also makes you,” the sentence replaces the concept of love with the word “it.” Since love is a concept and has no gender or quantity, a singular and non-gendered pronoun was used. Therefore, “it” stands in place of “love” in the sentence and refers back to the concept.
Antecedents help writers in a variety of ways. The first way in that it helps is that it removes unnecessary and tiring repetition. Imagine reading the sentences above without the antecedent. They would look like the following:
- The dog at the shelter is loud and energetic, but we still really like the dog.
- Sometimes love tricks you into believing things, and love also makes you do silly and crazy things.
The two sentences do not sound natural when we read them aloud our in our minds. They sound robotic and, at times, choppy. The sentences have also become unnecessarily longer. By using antecedents, we create more space to write more quality content. We also make the sentences and words flow more smoothly. However, authors must be careful in how they use antecedents. Depending on how the sentence is constructed, a pronoun may inadvertently refer to the wrong antecedent. In general, antecedents become helpful to make writing smoother, and, in conversation, they allow dialogues to happen much more quickly.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use antecedent worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what antecedent is and how it can be used. You can use these antecedent worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Antecedent Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 5, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.