Rhetoric and Composition/Unclear demonstrative pronoun reference
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Example[edit | edit source]
The amount of information that needs to be entered into the database is enormous, and it needs to be entered in a different way for each patient. This will make the design process complex."
What's wrong?[edit | edit source]
The example uses a demonstrative pronoun (such as this, these, or those), but there are two or more possible antecedents. To which does the pronoun refer?
Consider this example:
The new equipment arrived yesterday, and everything is in working order. This was something of a surprise.
Which is surprising? The fact that the equipment arrived, or that it was in working order, or both?
How to fix this problem[edit | edit source]
Supply a clarifying noun:
The new equipment arrived yesterday, and everything is in working order. This happy outcome was something of a surprise.