Definition of Antecedent (grammar)
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Antecedent (grammar) Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
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In grammar, an antecedent is an expression (word, phrase, clause, etc.) that gives its meaning to a pro-form (pronoun, pro-verb, pro-adverb, etc.). A proform takes its meaning from its antecedent, e.g. Susan arrived late because traffic held her up. The pronoun her refers to and takes its meaning from Susan, so Susan is the antecedent of her. Proforms usually follow their antecedents, but sometimes they precede them, in which case one is, technically, dealing with postcedents instead of antecedents. The prefix ante- means 'before, in front of', and post- means 'after, behind'. The term antecedent stems from traditional grammar. The linguistic term that is closely related to antecedent and proform is anaphora. Theories of syntax explore the distinction between antecedents and postcedents in terms of binding.
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