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3. Pronoun References

Few things slow a reader down more than unclear pronoun references—signs of carelessness that quickly distract the reader from your meaning. The reader can usually divine what you mean, but only at a cost that need not be incurred. Here are two examples of the problem.

The main problem that people run into with pronouns arises from their...

Does their refer to people or pronouns? The unfolding of the sentence may or may not give the answer.

The main problem that people run into with a pronoun is not tying it to its noun. It...

Does It refer to problem, pronoun, not tying it, or its noun? Or is It indefinite? Again, the unfolding of the sentence may or may not give the answer.

That is why you should check each pronoun, whether personal, impersonal, relative, possessive, or substantive, to be sure that there is no question about which noun the pronoun stands for.

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