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Video Transcripts

Mastering the Mechanics: Pronoun Tip #3

Last updated 5/31/2016

 

Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.

Audio: Guitar music.

 

Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen.

Background changes to a close up of a dictionary page and a bright green box that reads:

“Mastering the Mechanics:

Pronoun Tip #3:  Avoid Ambiguous Pronouns

Slide changes to a mostly gray slide with the heading: More Pronoun Tips

Below the heading is the following text:

  • Avoid the general we, us, and our

Rather than this: We all need to focus on patient satisfaction

Try this: Nurses all need to focus on patient satisfaction

  • Avoid ambiguous pronouns.

Rather than this: When the customer and the manager spoke on the phone, he was angry.

Try this: The customer was angry when he spoke on the phone with the manager

  • Maintain noun-pronoun agreement

Wrong: A manager should always listen to their customers

Correct: Managers should always listen to their customers

Wrong: The family needs to work on their anger issues

Correct: The family members need to work on their anger issues.

Audio: Pronoun tip number 3 is that it should always be clear what noun your pronoun is referring to. In other words, you want to avoid what I tend to all ambiguous pronouns. So take a look at this example: “When the customer and the manager spoke on the phone, he was angry." The problem here is that it's not clear who the "he" is. Is the "he" the customer? Or is "he" the manager?

So you just want to reword a little bit to clarify: “The customer was angry when he spoke on the phone with the manager."

 

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