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Bell Ringer 12

What does ambiguous mean? DO NOT USE A DICTIONARY OR THE TEXTBOOK!

Pronoun-takes the place of a noun Noun-person, place, thing, or idea Antecedent-word the pronoun takes the place of

New Stuff
Ambiguous-describes a pronoun that could refer to more than one different noun, so the antecedent is unclear

The antecedent must be a clearly identified noun or pronoun. If the antecedent isnt clear, the sentence has a faulty pronoun reference.

Ambiguous Pronoun Reference

Whenever two people or things are mentioned in a sentence, it is important for the reader to know whom or what a pronoun refers to. Remember that ambiguous means unclear.

Example 1
Incorrect: Mrs. Brooks made an appointment for Savannah while she was at the dentist.

Correct: While Mrs. Brooks was at the dentist, she made an appointment for Savannah.

Example 2
Jason asked Henry to move his car.
Is this clear? If not, fix it.

Implied Pronoun Reference

Sometimes, a sentence is incorrectly written when the pronoun refers to an implied noun that isnt explicitly stated. Pronouns should not refer to possessive nouns or to adjectives.

Example 3
OHenrys stories always have twists in the resolution. He wrote many of them while in jail.

OHenrys stories always have twists in the resolution. OHenry wrote many of them while in jail. OHenry wrote stories with twists in the resolution. He wrote many of them while in jail.

Example 4
The coffee cup was empty because Vince drank it all.
What is it referring to? Correct it.

Implied Pronoun Reference

Be careful not to use pronouns that refer to an implied idea in a sentence. Especially be careful that the pronouns this, that, it, and which have clear antecedents and dont refer to an implied idea.

Implied Pronoun Reference

What the heck is an implied idea? An implied idea is the idea that is assumed. Basically, its not explicitly stated in the sentence. You have to assume.

Example 5
Mabry is a skilled acrobat, and that was clear in his video.
What is the antecedent for that? Correct it.

Example 6
Janice bicycled through the mountains and enjoyed it very much.
What does it refer to? How can we fix it?

Impersonal Use of You or They

Be careful not to use the pronouns you and they to refer to people in general. The pronoun they should be used when it clearly refers to a specifically stated group of people or things.

Example 7
Aesops tales try to teach you about life.
In this sentence, you is being used to refer to people in general. Since it does not refer to a specific person, it is a vague reference, and the sentence should be rewritten.

Example 8
In the South, they serve iced tea in most restaurants.
Rewrite the sentence to eliminate the vague reference.

1. In Florida, they have greater chances of hurricanes hitting. 2. You need to wear sunblock at the beach. 3. They said on the news that the tornado warning was over.

4. If the rain doesnt stop soon, you may see flooding. 5. After strenuous exercise, you need to cool down.

6. They tow away cars from that area.

7. You cant expect everything on the Internet to be true.

8. You dont always know which cars are the most reliable.