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Writing: Pronoun clarity — Example
- [Instructor] In our haste, Jorge and I slammed our fishing boat straight into the pier, but somehow, it showed no trace of damage. - Okay, so this part is underlined it tells me that possibly there is something funky going on with this chunk of the sentence. Let's review the options, see what that is. So option A, no change. Option B, the wood showed no trace of damage. Option C, neither showed no trace of damage. Option D, neither showed any trace of damage. Cool, interesting, what this tells me is that we're talkin' about it. This is a pronoun clarity question. Let me show you why. Both fishing boat and pier could be the antecedent for it. So right now as it stands, the sentence is a little unclear. Which to me suggests we can knock out no change straight away. Option B, the wood showed no trace of damage. I'm not sure about that one, because a fishing boat and a pier could both be made of wood, but let's kind of hold on to that for now. Neither showed no trace of damage. Well I can eliminate that one because it contains an ungrammatical double negative right, neither, no. So even if it were correct on any other merits, this would disqualify it. And finally D, neither showed any trace of damage. Okay, that one sounds pretty good, but let's go back and see if it's more clear than B. Because this one refers, neither refers to pier and fishing boat. Whereas wood is still kind of ambiguous. You know I don't know from the context of the sentence whether or not the pier is made of word or the boat, I'm just gonna go with the thing that makes the most sense and choose D neither showed any trace of damage. You're looking for the answer choice that brings the most clarity to the sentence in its revision. The wood is attempting one, because it makes a kind of sense but it doesn't make enough sense. Neither makes more sense than the wood.