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We call this noun the antecedent.I. Faulty Pronoun Reference Every pronoun you write should refer clearly and unmistakably to ONE PARTICULAR noun. Mabel put them in the cabinet. . The pronoun "them" clearly refers to the noun disks. Disks is the antecedent for the pronoun them. Look at the following example: >>After buying some disks.

called FAULTY or VAGUE PRONOUN REFERENCE. can confuse readers and obscure the intended meaning. it is very easy to create a sentence that uses a pronoun WITHOUT a clear. the reader cannot know for sure whether Kara sold the disk or the cabinet. Mabel sold it. The pronoun reference is faulty here because the pronoun it has two antecedents.Unfortunately. The pronoun it does not have a clear noun antecedent. Such errors. . unmistakable noun antecedent. Look at this example: >>After putting the disk in the cabinet. As a result.

The Three Major Pronoun Reference Errors .

Does it refer to the radio or the car? The answer is unclear. Anyone who reads this sentence would not know which item was to be fixed.Error # 1: Too many antecedents A pronoun should have only one antecedent (the noun it refers to). >> Take the radio out of the car and fix it. Look at this sentence. That antecedent must be clear and unmistakable. .

In the above example. . REPHRASING the sentence made the meaning clear. faulty pronoun reference occurs because the pronoun it has two possible noun antecedents: radio and car. >>Take the radio out of the car and fix the radio. or >>Take the radio out of the car and fix the car. You can repair this error by substituting a noun for the pronoun.

but we were tired of eating it anyway. the true antecedent is "hidden" or obscured from the reader because it has been subordinated to another noun.Error # 2: Hidden Antecedents Faulty / vague pronoun reference errors also occur when the pronoun's antecedent functions as an adjective rather than a noun. In such cases. >>The candy dish was empty. Look at this sentence. Thus. we call this kind of faulty antecedent a hidden antecedent. .

You can repair this error by substituting the appropriate noun for the pronoun it. What this writer means to say is. Obviously. . Only nouns can be antecedents. people do not eat dishes." However. "We were tired of eating CANDY. candy cannot be the antecedent for it because candy. >> The candy dish was empty but we were tired of eating candy anyway. is acting like an adjective. situated in front of the noun dish.The reader of this sentence might think that the dish was being eaten because dish appears to be the antecedent for the pronoun it.

the identity is unknown. . Look at the following example.Error # 3: No Antecedent at All Another kind of faulty/vague pronoun reference problem occurs when writers use a pronoun without giving the pronoun any antecedent at all. >>The witness called the television station but they didn’t answer. Question: Who are "they" mentioned in the sentence? Answer: Since "they" has no antecedent in the sentence.

In this example. . the pronoun they has NO noun antecedent to which it can refer. but they didn’t that is clear and unmistakable. We can repair this error by changing the pronoun without an antecedent into a noun. Example: >> The witness called the television station. Example: >> The witness called the television reporters. but the reporters didn’t answer. Another way to repair this error is to create an antecedent -.

The pronoun which has no single." . it refers to the entire clause -. which was very unpatriotic. Instead. Look at this example.Another example shows how this error in pronoun reference occurs when a pronoun is used to stand for (refer to) a whole group of words INSTEAD OF one clear noun antecedent. clear antecedent."I did not attend the rally. >> I did not attend the rally.

Now no antecedent is needed since no pronoun is used. Replace the pronoun which with a noun. however. unmistakable NOUN ANTECEDENT. 1. Thus. clear.As you know. a pronoun must always refer to a single. the reference in the above example is incorrect. . We can repair this error in at least two ways. >> I did not attend the rally. my actions were very unpatriotic.

OR >>My not attending the rally was very unpatriotic. Rephrase the sentence to eliminate the pronoun. OR >>Not attending the rally was very unpatriotic of me. . I was vey unpatriotic. I was very unpatriotic. >>By not attending the rally. OR >>Because I did not attend the rally.2.

. Often they are used incorrectly and create faulty or vague pronoun reference problems.Watch out for "this" and "which" pronouns.

THE END --JhEd .

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