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Understanding Clear Reference

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Understanding Clear Reference What does reference mean? Pronouns and antecedents Ambiguous reference General reference Weak reference Indefinite reference – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Understanding Clear Reference


1
Understanding Clear Reference
What does reference mean? Pronouns and
antecedents Ambiguous reference General
reference Weak reference Indefinite
reference Review A Review B
2
What does reference mean?
When you refer to something, you point to
something specific.
3
What does reference mean?
A reference is a way of pointing out a connection
or relationship between two things.
If your references are unclear, your readers and
listeners cant make connections.
4
Pronouns and antecedents
A pronoun stands for, or refers to, another word
or word group, called the antecedent.
Pronoun
Antecedent
Steven wanted to visit the museum, but it had
closed for the day.
it
museum
Think of the arrow as the reference, or the
connection, between pronoun and antecedent.
5
Pronouns and antecedents
Generally, the meaning of a pronoun is clear only
when the reader knows to which word or word group
the pronoun refers.
Amy promised Jim she would help him clean the
kitchen.
him
she
Amy
Jim
The meaning of she is clear because we know she
refers to Amy.
The meaning of him is clear because we know him
refers to Jim.
6
Pronouns and antecedents
A pronoun should refer clearly to its antecedent.
A pronoun reference is sometimes unclear because
the pronoun and its antecedent do not agreein
number, gender, person, or case.
Eli is always thinking about computers. It seems
to be his only interest.
Unclear
Eli is always thinking about computers. They seem
to be his only interest.
Clear
Eli is always thinking about his computer. It
seems to be his only interest.
Clear
End of Section
7
Pronouns and antecedents Number
A pronoun should agree in number with its
antecedent.
A word that refers to one thing is singular.
A word that refers to more than one thing is
plural.
I me my, mine
you you your, yours
he, she, it him, her, it his, hers, its
Singular personal pronouns
we us our, ours
you you your, yours
they them their, theirs
Plural personal pronouns
8
Pronouns and antecedents Gender
Some singular pronouns indicate gender.
  • Masculine pronouns refer to males.
  • Feminine pronouns refer to females.
  • Neuter pronouns refer to places, things, ideas,
    and sometimes animals.

Masculine
he
him
his
himself
Feminine
she
her
her, hers
herself
Neuter
it
it
its
itself
9
Pronouns and antecedents Person
Person indicates whether a pronoun refers to
  • the one(s) speaking

first person
I reminded myself to finish my chores.
  • the one(s) spoken to

second person
Did you plant your garden by yourself?
  • the one(s) spoken about

third person
They should be ashamed of themselves.
10
Pronouns and antecedentsCase
Case is the form that a pronoun takes to show its
relationship to other words in a sentence.
Nominative Nominative Objective Possessive
Singular Singular Singular Singular Singular
First person First person I me my, mine
Second person Second person you you your, yours
Third person Third person he, she, it him, her, it his, her, hers, its
Plural Plural Plural Plural Plural
First person First person we us our, ours
Second person Second person you you your, yours
Third person Third person they them their, theirs
11
Ambiguous reference
An ambiguous reference occurs when any one of two
or more words can be a pronouns antecedent.
?
?
Ambiguous reference
Colleen called Alicia while she was doing her
homework.
Who is she? Who was doing her homeworkColleen or
Alicia?
12
Ambiguous reference
To correct an ambiguous reference, change the
wording so that the pronoun clearly refers to
just one antecedent.
When the ship struck the dock, it burst into
flames.
Colleen called Alicia while she was doing her
homework.
Ambiguous reference
The dock burst into flames when the ship struck
it.
Which burst into flamesthe ship or the dock?
While Colleen was doing her homework, she called
Alicia.
Clear
When it struck the dock, the ship burst into
flames.
While Alicia was doing her homework, Colleen
called her.
Clear
End of Section
13
General reference
A general reference is the use of a pronoun that
refers to a general idea rather than a specific
antecedent.
Mariana told jokes and sang funny songs. This
amused her audience.
General reference
This has no specific antecedent. What does this
refer to?
14
General reference
To correct a general reference, rephrase the
sentence or replace the pronoun with a noun.
General reference
Mariana told jokes and sang funny songs. This
amused her audience.
Mariana amused her audience by telling jokes and
singing funny songs.
Clear
Mariana told jokes and sang funny songs. Her act
amused the audience.
Clear
15
General reference
Some pronouns commonly found in general-reference
errors are this, that, it, and which.
My family got a new carpet and curtains. That
certainly improved the rooms appearance.
General reference
Clear
The new carpet and curtains that my family got
certainly improved the rooms appearance.
Clear
The rooms appearance was improved by the new
carpet and curtains that my family got.
16
General reference
Some pronouns commonly found in general-reference
errors are this, that, it, and which.
The trail was washed out and blocked in some
places. It made the climb nervewracking.
General reference
The climb was nervewracking because the trail was
washed out and blocked in some places.
Clear
Clear
That the trail was washed out and blocked in some
places made the climb nervewracking.
17
General reference
Some pronouns commonly found in general-reference
errors are this, that, it, and which.
Half of the pine trees had to be cut down, which
was unfortunate.
General reference
Unfortunately, half of the pine trees had to be
cut down.
Clear
Clear
That half of the pine trees had to be cut down
was unfortunate.
18
General reference
On a computer you can use the search feature to
highlight all occurrences of the pronouns it,
this, that, and which.
Grammar Gal Says...
I found out that two library books were overdue,
which was a surprise.
I was surprised to find out that two library
books were overdue.
Make sure each pronoun refers to a clear
antecedent. If it doesnt, revise your sentence.
19
General reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
1. When the limousine passed the bus, it swerved
sharply to the right.
2. Several hikers were late returning, which
worried the park rangers.
3. Last Saturday we pulled weeds in the garden,
but it took longer than we had planned.
20
General reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
1. When the limousine passed the bus, it swerved
sharply to the right.
It could refer to either limousine or bus.
(ambiguous reference)
21
General reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
2. Several hikers were late returning, which
worried the park rangers.
Which refers to a general idea, not a specific
antecedent. (general reference)
22
General reference

Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
3. Last Saturday we pulled weeds in the garden,
but it took longer than we had planned.
It refers to a general idea, not a specific
antecedent. (general reference)
23
Understanding clear reference
On Your Own
Revise each sentence to correct the unclear
pronoun reference. 1. The wind grew stronger and
the rain began. This made the campers look for
shelter. 2. Alia spoke to Mrs. Davidson about
her plans for the summer. 3. Until the police
led the jurors away, they had been mobbed by
reporters. 4. The plows removed all the snow and
cleared the roads, which means we have school
today. 5. Carlos is always cheerful and kind,
which is why everyone enjoys his company.
24
Weak reference
A weak reference occurs when a pronoun refers to
an antecedent that has been suggested but not
expressed.
The people want honest public servants, but many
people think that it is not a virtue of any of
the candidates.
Weak reference
What does it refer to? The antecedent honesty is
suggested but is not expressed.
25
Weak reference
Revise sentences to eliminate weak pronoun
references.
I take many photographs with my camera and
consider it an enjoyable hobby.
Being neighborly is important because you may
need their help some day in an emergency.
Weak reference
I take many photographs with my camera and
consider photography an enjoyable hobby.
Being neighborly is important because you may
need your neighbors help someday in an emergency.
Clear
End of Section
26
Indefinite reference
An indefinite reference is the use of a pronoun
that refers to no particular person or thing and
that is unnecessary to the meaning of the
sentence.
In the magazine article it describes the
aftermath of the eruption.
Indefinite reference
The pronoun it is not necessary to the meaning of
the sentence.
27
Indefinite reference
To correct an indefinite reference, reword the
sentence to avoid using the pronoun.
In the magazine article it describes the
aftermath of the eruption.
Indefinite reference
The magazine article describes the aftermath of
the eruption.
Clear
28
Indefinite reference
Most indefinite-reference errors are caused by
the misuse of the pronouns it, they, and you.
Throughout the book it uses expressions unique to
Maine.
Indefinite reference
Expressions unique to Maine are used throughout
the book.
Clear
29
Indefinite reference
Most indefinite-reference errors are caused by
the misuse of the pronouns it, they, and you.
In Japan they have the worlds tallest roller
coaster.
Indefinite reference
Clear
The worlds tallest roller coaster is in Japan.
30
Indefinite reference
Most indefinite-reference errors are caused by
the misuse of the pronouns it, they, and you.
In some countries, you do not dare to express
your political views openly.
Indefinite reference
In some countries, people do not dare to express
their political views openly.
Clear
31
Indefinite reference
Certain familiar expressions using it are
acceptable even though it does not refer to a
definite antecedent.
Grammar Gal Says...
It is raining.
It seems dark.
Its early.
32
Indefinite reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
1. In some parts of Africa, they mine diamonds
and sell them to jewelers to be cut.
2. Even though they spent two hours in the
laundry room, they didnt finish it all.
3. In large cities you dont feel comfortable
calling the mayor about problems.
33
Indefinite reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
1. In some parts of Africa, they mine diamonds
and sell them to jewelers to be cut.
They refers to no specific antecedent and is
unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence.
(indefinite reference)
34
Indefinite reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
2. Even though they spent two hours in the
laundry room, they didnt finish it all.
A specific antecedent for it is suggested but not
expressed. (weak reference)
35
Indefinite reference
Identify the unclear pronoun in each sentence.
Then, revise the sentence to correct the error.
Be prepared to explain your answer.
3. In large cities you dont feel comfortable
calling the mayor about problems.
You refers to no specific antecedent and is
unnecessary to the meaning of the sentence.
(indefinite reference)
36
Indefinite reference
On Your Own
Revise each sentence to correct the unclear
pronoun reference. 1. In the telephone book they
list five music stores. 2. Luis is highly
intelligent, but he hides it from people he
doesnt know well. 3. Prospective students must
fill out a college application form if they want
to get into one. 4. On the book jacket it says
that the authors took part in the events they
describe. 5. I like mountain biking, but I cant
afford one.
End of Section
37
Review A
In each sentence, identify the pronoun that has
an unclear reference.
1. The race is tomorrow, which is why they are
going to bed early tonight.
2. Silvio told Pat that he had to start
exercising regularly.
3. When that band comes to town next week, it
will be a sold-out show.
4. They said on the news that some roads are
flooded.
5. At the old fort a guide showed us around, and
this made the visit especially interesting.
38
The End
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