Consider this sentence, please:

I'm not a person who screams out my achievements from the rooftops.

Why do we use "my" instead of "his/her" in the sentence above, when "I" is not the antecedent of "who", the subject of the relative clause?

  • What leads you to think that I is not the antecedent of who? What if the sentence were the following: I am not a person who sleeps. What do you think the antecedent of who would be? (1) "Are you a person who sleeps?" (1) "No, I am not." (2) "Who sleeps?" "Not I." Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 18:05
  • 1
    The idiomatic phrase is shout from the rooftops. Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


Depending on the context, his or her or their could refer to someone other than I.

I'm not a person who screams out his achievements from the rooftops. I just believe President Trump is due some credit.

I'm not a person who screams out her achievements from the rooftops. I'm just a quietly supportive parent to my daughter.

I'm not a person who screams out their achievements from the rooftops. Those guys get enough publicity as it is in any case.

The use of my makes clear that the speaker is referring to their own achievements thereby removing any ambiguity that could arise.

  • As you suggest, a sentence like this implies a contrast: either with the speaker shouting something else, someone else shouting the speaker's achievements (e.g. the speaker's mother), or other people shouting their own achievements. The choice of pronoun will depend on the contrast.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 21, 2021 at 21:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.