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estel , The antecedent of a pronoun has to be three things: [#permalink]
06 Jan 2011, 19:54
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The antecedent of a pronoun has to be three things: in the correct case, unambiguous, and logical. Your example is:
"For many travelers, charter vacations often turn out to cost considerably more than they originally seemed."
And you are arguing that the "they" is ambiguous because it could refer to the travelers or the vacations. I agree with you that both of these subjects are plural, so there is some ambiguity there. However, you need to consider the context of the pronoun. Since a traveler cannot seem expensive, "traveler" is not a logical antecedent of "they." The only plural subject that could logically replace "they" is "vacations."
Thanks for the example. I have to say that it made me chuckle a bit to think about the ambiguity of people having horns.
In your example, the correct answer (judging from the answer choices I found on another thread) does in fact get rid of the "their" that the original sentence has. However, the answer choices that use "their" (A and B) have black and white grammatical errors also. I would argue that even in this sentence, there really is no ambiguity. If everything else were correct, you could pick an answer with "their."
BKimball, thanks for the answer. It helped. I didn't know that the logic of the sentence can remove ambiguity.
But what about this sentence:
"A proposal has been made to trim the horns from rhinoceroses to discourage poachers; the question is whether tourists will continue to visit game parks to see rhinoceroses after their horns have been trimmed."
why there is an ambiguity in the word "their"? If we use logic we can argue that tourists don't have horns so there is no ambiguity.
Can you please state the Q with all the choices.. I would like to know what are the choices given...
I haven't looked at this problem in the OG, but if I remember correctly there are also other errors in answers A) and B). Is that correct? I'd be surprised if the pronoun ambiguity in this instance would be the sole reason an answer choice is wrong.