Like stated before, all pronouns substitute for nouns. Sometimes, however, the way a sentence has been worded leaves a question about which noun has been replaced, thus creating unclear communication.
Ex. I locked my backpack in my truck, but later it was stolen. (Unclear)
What was stolen, the backpack or the truck?
To correct this, simply replace the pronoun for the noun.
Ex. I locked my backpack in my truck, but later my truck was stolen. (Clear)
In addition, a sentence may be confusing because there is no specific reference for the pronoun.
Ex. I never purchase fresh produce from there because they don’t have organic options. (Unclear)
Who doesn’t have organic options available to customers?
The way to correct this is to replace the pronoun with a store.
Ex. I never purchase fresh produce from there because Walmart doesn’t have organic options.
Pronoun Reference Activity
For the following, identify the problem and then rewrite the sentence to clear up any confusion.
- Sue told Gina that she had gained weight.
- Our instructor did not adequately explain the difficult research assignment, which made me frustrated.
- The supervisors told their teams that they would receive bonuses this holiday season.