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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Criminal Sentence 218: Don't Put the Cart (Pronoun) before the Horse (Noun)

From a book I read recently:

"If it’s available, make sure to order Armagnac."

This is a common mistake: using a pronoun before you've mentioned what the noun is. A pronoun refers back to a noun that you've already mentioned, so if you haven't mentioned the noun yet, it confuses the reader. To solve this problem, just switch the pronoun and noun around:

"If Armagnac’s available, make sure to order it."

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