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Chapter 15. Correctness > 3.3.3 Vague Pronoun Reference

3.3.3 Vague Pronoun Reference

Pronouns must clearly refer to their antecedents; remote or indefinite pronoun references break down coherence between sentences. The writer of sentence #3 would possibly mislead a reader into expecting a piece of paper—the listing— rather than a massive piece of equipment!

To avoid this sort of error, whenever you use the words this, which, or it, be sure you can identify a precise reference to a specific noun. If you cannot, supply an appropriate noun after the pronoun: “The civil engineering crew encountered a number of large boulders. This situation resulted in a delay in construction.”


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