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Current time:0:00Total duration:2:07

Writing: Pronoun clarity — Basic example

Writing: Grammar

Video transcript

- [Instructor] After practicing the violin together for 15 years, Justine told Katie that she was the better violinist. All right, so immediately when I read that, when they say that she was the better violinist, I don't know, is Justine talking about she, Justine or is Justine talking about she, Katie. So this pronoun she, who is it referring to? Is it referring to Katie or is it referring to Justine? It could be either one. Justine could be saying that Justine is better or she could be saying that Katie is better. The way it's written, you do not know which kind of makes the sentence fairly meaningless. So I definitely don't want to keep it the way it is. So what I would want is some clarity on who was the better violinist. So what I like about this second choice is, it makes it very clear that Katie was the better violinist so let's read that. After practicing the violin together for 15 years, Justine told Katie that Katie was the better violinist. Yup I definitely like it. Now you might say, oh you know what, look I'm using Katie twice in three words in the sentence, isn't that redundant? And it might feel that way but you really do need to use Katie twice in order to make sure that you understand that Justine thinks that Katie was the better violinist. So this needs to be Katie right over here. If you don't do that, you don't know who Justine is talking about and then the other choices, let's see. After practicing the violin together for 15 years, Justine told Katie that she's was the better violinist. Well this one is just, this one is ambiguous. This one's just grammatically incorrect. You're having a possessive pronoun here, what are you possessing so definitely rule that one out and then after practicing the violin together for 15 years, Justine told Katie that they were the better violinist. That's not making sense, saying that they were both but it's making a comparison, to whom I don't know. They could say, Justine told Katie that they were both good violinists. That would of been an okay statement but that's not what they're saying. They were making a comparison on who is a better violinist, so this doesn't make sense either.