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Writing: Possessive Pronouns — Example

Writing: Grammar

Video transcript

- [Instructor] Ilana and Phyllis couldn't find the keys to their spaceship, which Phyllis insisted she had hung on a peg in the workshop. All right, so they're is underlined. This is a possessive pronouns question. So let's go through the options. No change, their, T-H-E-I-R, her, or T-H-E-R-E. Right out of the gate, I'm gonna say eh, on no change. Let me tell you why. They're is a very common error for they're, their, there confusion. Sure, there is they in this referring to Ilana and Phyllis, but T-H-E-Y-'-R-E is a contraction of they are, and we know that we're talking about the spaceship that belongs to Ilana and Phyllis. So we know that this is not the right word, T-H-E-Y-'-R-E, they are spaceship, no good. So let's cross that off. Their, T-H-E-I-R, that's the possessive form. That looks great to me, but let's keep moving. Her, her is tempting because maybe the spaceship belongs to one of them. However, that's less correct than they're, because it creates a pronoun clarity error. Which person does it belong to? Does it belong to Ilana or does it belong to Phyllis? We don't know that and we can't know that from the sentence so we're gonna have to eliminate it. Although I understand why it's tempting. Finally, T-H-E-R-E, well this is an adverb. The spaceship was there in the workshop. So it doesn't work. What we're looking for is a possessive pronoun. That pronoun that behaves like an adjective that says this spaceship belongs to Ilana and Phyllis. So it's not gonna be there. So that leaves us with option B, T-H-E-I-R, because it applies to both Ilana and Phyllis. It belongs to them, it is theirs, it is their spaceship.