Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

What Is an Antecedent? (with Examples)

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. )
Typically, the antecedent of a pronoun is a noun or a noun phrase. Despite the name, an antecedent does not always come before its pronoun. Look at this example:
  • 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 Antecedents

Here are some more examples of antecedents of pronouns:
Interactive Test