Grammar Quiz #16: Possessive Adjectives
In the following sentences, choose the possessive adjective that agrees in number with the noun or pronoun to which it refers.
1. Only one of the children picked up ______ certificate.
2. All of the beauty candidates showed ______ best smile.
3. We all expected each contestant to remember the words of the trainer and to do ______ best in the race.
4. The European Union unites _______ countries with a single monetary standard.
5. We wanted the participants to give us _______ individual opinions.
Answers and Explanations
1. Only one of the children picked up his certificate.
The possessive adjective refers to singular one, not plural children.
2. All of the beauty candidates showed their best smile.
The pronoun all may be either singular or plural. When it refers to people or things that can be counted, it is regarded as plural. When it refers to an uncountable noun, like jewelry, it is regarded as singular. Ex: All the jewelry showed its glow in the sunlight.
3. We all expected each contestant to remember the words of the trainer and to do his best in the race.
Each contestant is singular. Most modern writers would probably recast the sentence in the plural in order to avoid offending any women who might belong to the group. Ex: We expected all contestants to remember the words of the trainer and to do their best in the race.
4. The European Union unites its countries with a single monetary standard.
In U.S. English usage, names of organizations and teams are treated as singular. Ex: The United States is located in North America.
5. We wanted the participants to give us their individual opinions.
Opinions are held individually, but participants is plural, hence their opinions is the correct choice.
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