Distributive Pronoun:

Pronouns that distribute the effect of the verb on more than one person or a thing taken one at a time are known as distributive pronouns. They refer to more than one nouns but not as a group, rather individually. These pronouns talk about particular members of a group. Each, Either, and Neither are the distributive pronouns.

‘Each’ is used to refer to each member of a large group.

‘Either’ is used when the quantity of the nouns being referred to is two. It means one of the two.

‘Neither’ is also used when the quantity of the noun being referred to is two. It is negative of ‘either’. It means no one out of the two nouns.

When the quantity is more than two, we use anyone, no one or none.

Examples:

  • I am sure that neither of the plans will work for me.
  • Each of the speakers was asked to introduce himself for the first two minutes.
  • Either of you can take this opportunity.
  • I could not catch either of the flights.
  • Neither of us liked what they proposed.
  • The teacher talked personally to each of our parents.

Ø Distributive pronouns are always singular and thus take a singular verb and singular possessive pronouns, but they take plural noun

We know that distributive pronouns refer to each member of a group individually. For this reason, they are always considered singular, and they take singular verbs and singular possessive pronouns after them.

Examples:

  • Each of the student have to complete their project by tomorrow. (INCORRECT)
  • Each of the students has to complete his project by tomorrow. (CORRECT)

 

  • Either of your friend forget their book here every evening. (INCORRECT)
  • Either of your friends forgets his book here every evening. (CORRECT)

 

  • Neither of the women accepted their mistake. (INCORRECT)
  • Neither of the women accepted her mistake. (CORRECT)

Ø Distributive pronouns vs Distributive adjectives

Do not confuse between distributive pronouns and distributive adjectives. We know it quite well that pronouns replace a noun to reduce repetition. Like nouns, pronouns also become subject or object in a sentence.

While adjectives are used just before nouns to qualify or modify them, they are positioned just before the noun in a structure ‘adjective + noun’.

Here, you also need to remember that a distributive pronoun is followed by a plural noun while a singular noun follows a distributive adjective. But both are considered singular as they refer to members of a group one at a time and hence take a singular verb and singular possessive pronouns.

Examples:

  • Neither of the children has taken the candy. (Pronoun)
  • Neither child has taken the candy. (Adjective)

  • Either of the players is capable of winning the finals. (Pronoun)
  • Either player is capable of winning the finals. (Adjective)

  • Each of these necklaces has natural sea pearls. (Pronoun)
  • Each necklace has natural sea pearls. (Adjective)

  • You can select either of the girl as your partner. (INCORRECT)

(A plural noun follows distributive pronouns.)

  • You can select either of the girls as your partner. (CORRECT)

  • Each artists have a unique style. (INCORRECT)

(Distributive adjectives are followed by a singular noun and take singular verbs.)

  • Each artist has a unique style. (CORRECT)
#KEY-NOTES:
  • Distributive pronouns divide the effect of the verb equally between the members of a group.
  • They refer to more than one nouns but not as a group, rather individually.
  • Each, Either, and Neither are the distributive pronouns.
  • ‘Either’ and ‘Neither’ are used to refer to two nouns.
  • Distributive pronouns are followed by a plural noun.
  • They are always considered singular, and they take singular verbs and singular possessive pronouns after them.

#SUMMARY:
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