How To Tackle Pronoun Questions on SAT® Writing

Pronoun questions on SAT writing
Read to learn about the role of pronouns in SAT® writing with useful tips, strategies and practice questions to improve your score
Pronoun questions on SAT writing
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These Writing section questions have to do with deciphering whether a pronoun functions as a subject or as an object. The difference is that a subject is doing the action, while an object receives the action. If the subject is mistaken as an object or vice versa, you will need to recognize the error and fix it based on the pronoun’s role.

Difference Between Subject Pronouns and Object Pronouns

Subject pronouns are “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “it,” “one,” “we,” “you,” “they,” and “who.” These pronouns refer to words doing the action.
Example: She left the gym after the workout class.
The subject pronoun “she” is doing the action.

Object pronouns are “me,” “you,” “her,” “him,” “it,” “one,” “us,” “you,” “them,” and “whom.”
These pronouns refer to words receiving the action.
Example: After buying a new cookbook, John used it to make the family dinner.
The object pronoun “it” is receiving the action.

The Writing test assesses your ability to decide whether to use a subject or an object pronoun based on it’s role in the sentence concerning verbs and actions.

The first step is to determine whether an underlined pronoun is doing the action or receiving the action. If the pronoun is not being appropriately used given its function, then there is a pronoun case error.

Strategies and Tips

Compound Subjects
You can navigate compound subjects and compound objects by crossing out one subject/object and the word “and.”


Dave and Steve walked him home after the soccer game. 
Dave and Steve walked him home after the soccer game.

By crossing out “Dave and” it is easier to determine how “him” functions as an object.
Steve is doing the walking to him. This step verifies that “him” is an object pronoun and is being used properly.

Object Pronouns and Prepositions

You can shortcut the process of deciphering whether a pronoun is an object or a subject if the pronoun follows a preposition.

Example: Jess gave her backpack to him.

This example displays how the preposition “to” in front of the pronoun makes it an object. “Him” is receiving the action. “Him” is an object because it follows “to.”

You can practice editing and improving object pronoun and subject pronoun errors in the Writing test using UWorld’s SAT® Prep Course. Practice exams are a great way to gain experience for test day, and detailed question explanations can explain how to learn from the questions you miss.

Our performance tracking tools can provide you with data about your weak points so that you can study efficiently. Try the SAT Prep course to perfect your understanding of pronouns in the Writing section and boost your scores!

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