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Teacher Tips and Answers

Correcting Unclear Pronouns

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A third-person pronoun (he, she, it, they, him, her, its, their) needs to refer clearly to its antecedent. An unclear antecedent creates confusion and sometimes humor.

Confusing: The red-breasted robin returned to the nest while Marsha watched, and she coughed up a worm to feed her babies.

      (She seems to refer to Marsha, the closest singular feminine noun form.)

Clear: While Marsha watched, the red-breasted robin returned to her nest, and she coughed up a worm to feed her babies.

      (Now, she clearly refers to the red-breasted robin.)

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