Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apocalypto: Pronoun-Antecedent Disagreement

Samantha writes:
Snarky, my ELA assignment is to find the error on this poster. Help!

The mistake is in the tagline running along the bottom of the poster just above the credits.
No one can outrun their destiny.
Where does this movie poster go wrong? The possessive pronoun, their, does not agree with its antecedent, no one. 'No one' is singular so it needs a singular possessive pronoun (e.g., his, her, its). In this case, it seems that 'his' would have been the best choice.

Quick rule:
  • A pronoun must agree in number with the noun it replaces (the antecedent).

  • No one can outrun his destiny.


  1. Technically you are correct, but the singular use of "they" is getting more common as a gender neutral pronoun. If they used the word "his" in the tagline, I feel like the poster could have been interpreted as sexist. I'm sure you have much more experience with grammar as I do, so let my know if I missed something important.

  2. English Pronouns is very important because its structure is used in every day conversation. The more you practice the subject, the closer you get to mastering the English language.

    Subject and Object Pronouns