Posted by: episystechpubs | July 6, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Antecedents

Last week we discussed pronouns. Remember, a pronoun is a word that is used to take the place of a noun you’ve already mentioned. Now let’s talk about antecedents. The noun that a pronoun refers to is called an antecedent. Another way to think of it: an antecedent clarifies what the pronoun refers to.


President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address in 1863.

In this sentence, the pronoun his refers to President Lincoln. President Lincoln is the antecedent for the pronoun his.

The following examples would be correct if there were a clear antecedent instead of the pronoun.

· If you put this sheet in your notebook, you can refer to it. (What is the antecedent for it, the sheet or your notebook?)

· Although the batch job was running for too long and caused GOODNIGHT processing to freeze, it was terminated. (What is the antecedent of it, the batch job or GOODNIGHT processing?)

Also, be careful when you start sentences with a pronoun (specifically this, that, these, those, or it), especially if the previous sentence contains multiple nouns.


In this enhancement, we added new fields to the Loan record, new batch prompts to the Loan File Maintenance Processing batch program, and a new Loan Transfers report in Print Control. This will allow you to track loan transfers. (What is the antecedent of this, the enhancement, the new fields, the new batch prompts, or the new report?)

Remember to refer clearly to a specific noun. Don’t be vague; it just confuses the reader.

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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