Ambiguous Pronouns<br />Vocabulary Word Box<br />
It was crazy last night!! She met up with him after they left the bowling alley, and we all rode to the game together. I can’t believe we won!! Maggie and Sarah met us there at half time, but she didn’t feel so good, so she left. They did SO well last night; I can’t believe they won! Tyler’s mom gave him some money to treat us to ice cream, so they rode together to Sonic. It was SO good!!<br />Here’s a Clue<br />
ambiguous [æmˈbɪgjʊəs] adj1. having more than one possible interpretation or meaning<br />2. difficult to understand or classify; obscure, vague, unclear<br />pronoun-any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what. Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the existence of special objective forms, as him for he or me for I, and by nonoccurrence with an article or adjective. <br />Definition<br />
"Don't kill your wife with work. Do it with electricity!"<br />What do you really mean here….IT is a HIGHLY ambiguous pronoun.<br />What is "it"? Is "it" the work that should be done with electricity, or "it" killing your wife? I'm pretty sure this ad didn't intend to say that you should kill your wife with electricity.<br />What are you talking about??<br />
It is believed that the suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives next to the bus before detonating it. <br />Before detonating what exactly? The bus? The car? No, the explosives are the only things that can be detonated here, and they are plural, so the word "it" should be replaced by "them." This also makes the meaning clear as the explosives are the only plural noun in the entire sentence, so "them" can only refer to the explosives: <br />It is believed that the suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives next to the bus before detonating them. <br />
You know what they say…..<br />Who is “they”????!!<br />"The virus that causes the common cold is always evolving, and it is doubtful whether they will ever be able to find a reliable drug to combat it.”<br />In that sentence, who are the "they" referred to? Clearly this means people in general, rather than any particular group of people. In fact, we can go one stage further and suggest that "they" probably refers to scientists, as it is generally scientists who search for a cure to the common cold. The sentence should be rewritten as:<br />"The virus that causes the common cold is always evolving, and it is doubtful whether scientists will ever be able to find a reliable drug to combat it."<br />Who are you talking about??<br />
Fred visited Bob after his graduation.<br />Let’s play “Find the Antecedent.” Whose graduation are we talking about? Fred’s or Bob’s? They’re both men, so it’s impossible to tell. This kind of mistake can slide right by a careful test-taker, so be on the lookout. Replace his with either Fred’s or Bob’s, and you’ve solved the problem:<br />Fred visited Bob after Fred’s/Bob’s graduation.<br />Figure it out!!!<br />
Zelda gave her daughter a bike that she rode constantly from that moment on.<br />This seems less ambiguous because we tend to interpret the sentence according to our experience and expectations: mother gives daughter a bicycle; daughter is totally psyched; daughter thus rides bike nonstop. She refers to her daughter; choose E, No error, and keep going.<br />That’s all well and good, except that you just chose a distractor! It is possible that Zelda gave her daughter a bike and that Zelda, not her daughter, rode that bike constantly from that moment on. Maybe Zelda’s a mean mom. Maybe the daughter hated the bicycle and Zelda rekindled her childhood love of cycling. The point is, we’ve got an ambiguous pronoun, and that’s an error.<br />Figure it out!!<br />
They say that the SAT considers vague pronouns to be a grammatical mistake.<br />The author of this book says that the SAT considers vague pronouns to be a grammatical mistake.<br />I’ve talked to three English teachers. They say that the SAT considers vague pronouns to be a grammatical mistake. I’m glad I asked them about it.<br />Correct the mistake!!<br />
Although the motorcycle hit the tree, it was not damaged.<br />Practice<br />OR<br />
I don't think they should show violence on TV.<br />
If you put this sheet in your notebook, you can refer to it.<br />
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell are hilarious, but it wasn’t his best movie.<br />
Anjelina and Jennifer went to the Justin Bieber concert, but she got sick and had to leave early.<br />
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