Last updated 5/31/2016
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Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen.
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“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:
Rather than this: We all need to focus on patient satisfaction
Try this: Nurses all need to focus on patient satisfaction
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
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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