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Friday, February 26, 2010

New Grammar Girl Episode: Pronouns and Antecedents

Check out this new episode:


Westley said...

This morning, I came across this intentional pronoun confusion:
Researchers at the University of Bath in England have created software that allows a 3D scanner to recognize individual noses. It turns out, noses are unique just like fingerprints. Police may someday be able to identify suspects by following their nose.
Who is ‘their’ referring to? The police or the suspects? How about both at the same time!

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Cool example! But perhaps "their noses" would be better than "their nose"? And maybe "The authorities" instead of "Police"?

Westley said...

Excellent rewrite. I thought about using a plural nose, but it didn't quite seem right. Changing the collective noun 'police' to an obvious plural certainly fixes the issue.