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Teacher Tips and Answers

Correcting Unclear Pronouns


When you use a pronoun, be sure the reader knows who or what the pronoun refers to. Two possible antecedents can create confusion.

Unclear: When Dakota tried to balance the book on the stack, it fell.

       (What does the pronoun it refer to—the book or the stack?)

Clear: The book fell when Dakota tried to balance it on top of the stack.

Unclear pronouns can be humorous.

Unclear: Dakota needed to find Hamlet, in which the Prince of Denmark plotted revenge because he had to write a paper.

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