Avoiding Pronoun Reference Errors

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Information about Avoiding Pronoun Reference Errors
Education

Published on October 7, 2008

Author: SWVega

Source: authorstream.com

You know this is it! : You know this is it! Identifying and Correcting Pronoun Reference Problems Pronoun Reference : Pronoun Reference Every pronoun MUST have a clear reference; in other words, every pronoun must refer to an unquestionable antecedent. An antecedent is the noun to which the pronoun refers. Clear Reference : Clear Reference For example: Jonah did not know that he would be swallowed by a whale. Clear Reference : Clear Reference The pronoun “he” clearly refers back to Jonah. Antecedent Pronoun Jonah did not know that he would be swallowed by a whale. Unclear Reference : Unclear Reference Four Types of Problems Ambiguous reference General reference Weak reference Indefinite reference Ambiguous Reference : Ambiguous Reference Ambiguous (adj) - unclear due to having multiple interpretations Ambiguous Reference : Ambiguous Reference An ambiguous pronoun is unclear because it can refer to two or more antecedents. Example: Jordan told Ryan that he got a promotion. Ambiguous Reference : Ambiguous Reference Example: ? ? Pronoun Jordan told Ryan that he got a promotion. Did Jordan or Ryan get the promotion? The pronoun could refer to either. Fixing Ambiguous Reference : Fixing Ambiguous Reference Jordan told Ryan that he got a promotion. Possible fixes (assuming Ryan got promotion): Ryan got a promotion and told Jordan about it. After getting a promotion, Ryan told Jordan about it. Ryan told Jordan that Ryan got a promotion. General Reference : General Reference A general reference pronoun refers to a “general idea” but has no specific antecedent. Examples: We sat down and talked for a while. It/This helped clear up the misunderstanding. We sat down and talked for a while, which helped clear up the misunderstanding. General Reference : General Reference In this case, neither it, this, nor which refers to a specific noun, but to the “idea” of talking. Example: We sat down and talked for a while. It/This/Which helped clear up the misunderstanding. It/This/Which refer to idea of discussion. Fixing General Reference : Fixing General Reference Replace the general pronoun with a specific noun. Example: We sat down and talked for a while. Our discussion helped clear up the misunderstanding. Fixing General Reference : Fixing General Reference Or revise the sentence completely. Example: Discussing matters at length helped clear up the misunderstanding. Our talk cleared up our misunderstanding. Fixing General Reference : Fixing General Reference Your Turn! How would you fix the general pronoun reference in this example? Example: On his second trip to Mexico, Daniel spoke Spanish well enough to make himself understood. This was encouraging. What does “This” refer to? Daniel’s ability to speak Spanish. Fixing General Reference : Fixing General Reference Suggested Fix #1: Example: On his second trip to Mexico, Daniel spoke Spanish well enough to make himself understood. His fluency was encouraging. Fixing General Reference : Fixing General Reference Suggested Fix #2: Example: On his second trip to Mexico, Daniel felt encouraged that he spoke Spanish well enough to be understood. Weak Reference : Weak Reference A pronoun with weak reference refers to an antecedent that has been suggested but not directly expressed. Weak Reference : Weak Reference Example: Our whale-watching excursion lasted all afternoon, but we didn’t actually see any. Any what? Whales However, the noun “whales” is not directly expressed. It is suggested by the words “whale-watching excursion.” Fixing Weak Reference : Fixing Weak Reference Replace the weak pronoun with the specific noun/antecedent: Example: Our whale-watching excursion lasted all afternoon, but we didn’t actually see any. Fixing Weak Reference : Fixing Weak Reference Replace the weak pronoun with the specific noun/antecedent: Example: Our whale-watching excursion lasted all afternoon, but we didn’t actually see whales. Fixing Weak Reference : Fixing Weak Reference Your Turn! How would you fix the weak reference in this sentence? Example: The car is certainly fast, but other performance features are more important than that. Fixing Weak Reference : Fixing Weak Reference Suggested Fix: Example: The car is certainly fast, but other performance features are more important than speed. Indefinite Reference : Indefinite Reference The use of a pronoun that refers to no particular person or thing and is unnecessary to the structure and meaning of a sentence. Indefinite Reference : Indefinite Reference Example: In this new atlas, it shows the recent changes in the countries of Europe and Asia. “It” refers refers to nothing and is unnecessary. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Remove the pronoun and revise sentence accordingly: In this new atlas, it shows the recent changes in the countries of Europe and Asia. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Remove the pronoun and revise sentence accordingly: In this new atlas, it shows the recent changes in the countries of Europe and Asia. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Remove the pronoun and revise sentence accordingly: This new atlas shows the recent changes in the countries of Europe and Asia. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Your Turn! How would you fix the indefinite reference in this sentence? On this Web page they offer a wide variety of Ethiopian recipes. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Suggested Fix: On This Web page they offers a wide variety of Ethiopian recipes. Fixing Indefinite Reference : Fixing Indefinite Reference Suggested Fix: This Web page offers a wide variety of Ethiopian recipes.

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