Posted by: Jack Henry | June 29, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Unclear Pronouns

Sometimes when writers use a pronoun (you, it, that, they, this, etc.) to refer to a noun, the noun becomes vague for any of these reasons:

· The noun is far from the pronoun

Example: Last year’s client conference, where I met our president, was one of the best that I have ever been to. The sessions were informative and the gluten-free food was delicious. He is originally from Texas, but he moved to San Diego two years ago. [JS – A sentence separates the noun from the pronoun.]

· The noun is among other nouns, making it hard to figure out which noun the pronoun refers to

Example: Donna told Kara that Jackie suspected that she ate all the donuts. [JS – Who suspects whom of eating the donuts?]

· The noun is not stated clearly

Example: In the instructions, they said to take the system offline. [JS – It is not clear who “they” refers to.]

When you use pronouns, make sure the reference is clear.

Thank you,

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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