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    What is a vague pronoun

    what is a vague pronoun

    Clarify Vague Pronoun References

    That problem is vague pronoun reference. It, this, and which are pronouns, and they need to refer back to a specific noun, not to the whole idea of a previous statement. In these three sentences, the pronouns refer to the idea that Harry was always late, but they can’t logically refer back to either of the two nouns, Harry or datmixloves.com Size: KB. Careful pronoun use helps writers avoid confusion and miscommunication. When pronoun reference is vague or ambiguous, it means that the noun (or antecedent) that the pronoun refers to is not clear. Susan Thurman, in The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, says that after verbs.

    A pronoun is a part of speech that can replace a noun; its antecedent is the person, place, or thing to which the pronoun refers. A vague pronoun reference might include words such as it, that, this, and which, and can leave the reader wondering what or to whom the pronoun refers. Writers who strive for clarity in their work should be certain that each pronoun has a specific antecedent. It lowered his grade. This lowered his grade. Dear How to delete file on nintendogs Authors Contribute Feedback.

    What is a vague pronoun reference? How can vague pronoun references be clarified? Search the document for the words it, this, whichand thatand circle each occurrence. Draw an prooun to the antecedent for each circled word. Ks the antecedent is missing, rewrite the sentence to include a clear antecedent for each vague pronoun. An appropriate noun or noun phrase may be added after this or before which. If a sentence begins with itreplace it with a noun or a noun phrase.

    For additional information on avoiding vague pronoun references, see also: Avoid Vague Pronoun References.

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    "they/their" as a gender-neutral singular

    A pronoun is a part of speech that can replace a noun; its antecedent is the person, place, or thing to which the pronoun refers. A vague pronoun reference might include words such as it, that, this, and which, and can leave the reader wondering what or to whom the pronoun refers. Blog. April 16, How videos can drive stronger virtual sales; April 9, 6 virtual presentation tools that’ll engage your audience; April 7, Vague pronoun reference Top 20 Errors: #17 Lack of pronoun-antecedent agreement. Here's the classic definition of pronoun agreement: The antecedent of a pronoun is the noun or other pronoun it refers to. Since a pronoun derives its meaning from its antecedent, the two must agree in person, number, and gender.?.

    Careful pronoun use helps writers avoid confusion and miscommunication. When pronoun reference is vague or ambiguous, it means that the noun or antecedent that the pronoun refers to is not clear. Indeed, vague pronoun reference occurs near the top of both the and the versions of the list of top twenty common errors. It did slip from the top 2 position in the earlier list to the number 4 position in the later list.

    Most people recognize that pronouns are used in place of nouns that are already known or have already been mentioned. Using them can make writing smoother and communication efficient. Notice the difference in the following sentences when the noun phrase the elderly man is replace with a pronoun he.

    The elderly man sat on the bent until the elderly man was asked to leave. The elderly man sat on the bent until he was asked to leave. Shirley called to say she would be glad to help decorate for the party on Friday. Here there are two possible nouns or antecedents the pronoun he could refer to: Billy Joe and Darrell. In cases in which there are two or more antecedents, a reader cannot tell what the writer had in mind. Who enjoys horseback riding, Billy Joe or Darrell?

    Even with vague pronoun reference, the context can supply the intention, but sometimes a reader has to go back and reread in order to trace the pronoun to its antecedent or the noun it refers to.

    This can be a stumbling block to a reader. Cook provides this suggested revision:. Martha Kolln in Rhetorical Grammar also points to instances when a vague pronoun reference can cause a fuzziness, rather than clear understanding. She first provides examples in which the pronouns clearly refer to the nouns or noun phrases preceding them:.

    He works for a meat-packing company. In other examples, Kolln shows that while the meaning is not at stake, a fuzziness occurs because the pronouns refer not to a complete noun phrases, but to only a noun modifier :. They say something different every week. The young recording star was elated , but kept it hidden? If we follow the rule that a pronoun must refer to a noun already known or already mentioned, then the sentence would read:. The young recording star was elated , but kept elated hidden.

    But, the antecedent cannot be elated because elated is not a noun. In such cases, we must replace the pronoun with a noun phrase that expresses the meaning.

    The young recording star was elated with his hit record, but kept his feelings hidden. The following example of the need to provide a noun or noun phrase instead of a pronoun for a preceding noun illustrates the problem of the vague use of pronouns such as this :. Though we understand what is meant, there is no clear antecedent for the pronoun this. It is a vague use. Ask of the sentence, what shocked the speaker? This vague use occurs because the words this, that, it, and which are sometimes used as a short cut for referring to something mentioned earlier.

    However, as with other pronouns, these words need a clear antecedent. As you review and revise your writing, make sure that the pronouns you are using not only have clear antecedents, but also that they are referring to something that has already been expressed. Your email address will not be published. Skip to content Careful pronoun use helps writers avoid confusion and miscommunication.

    In some cases, the antecedent that the pronoun refers to is clear: Shirley called to say she would be glad to help decorate for the party on Friday. In the following example, however, the reference is not as clear: Billy Joe invited Darrell to the ranch because he enjoyed horseback riding. Depending on what is meant, this sentence can be rewritten to make the meaning clear: Because Darrel enjoyed horseback riding, Billy Joe invited him to the ranch.

    OR Billy Joe, who enjoyed horseback riding, invited Darrell to the ranch. She first provides examples in which the pronouns clearly refer to the nouns or noun phrases preceding them: The old gymnasium needs a new roof.

    It needs a new roof. Consider the following sentence from Cook : The young recording star was elated , but kept it hidden? What did the star keep hidden? If we follow the rule that a pronoun must refer to a noun already known or already mentioned, then the sentence would read: The young recording star was elated , but kept elated hidden. Here is the sentence rewritten: The young recording star was elated with his hit record, but kept his feelings hidden. The following example of the need to provide a noun or noun phrase instead of a pronoun for a preceding noun illustrates the problem of the vague use of pronouns such as this : I just found out that my roommate is planning to withdraw from school.

    This really shocked me. Her decision really shocked me. Leave a Comment Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.

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