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# Pronoun reference doubt

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14 Dec 2010, 05:30
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Hi,
The following appeared in The Hindu today:
In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted his claim that he was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

My doubt is that in the underlined portion, whom is "he" referring to. Is suppose to Mr. K. G. Balakrishnan, but is it correctly represented here?

Jaggy
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14 Dec 2010, 06:44
jagveerbrar wrote:
Hi,
The following appeared in The Hindu today:
In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted his claim that he was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

My doubt is that in the underlined portion, whom is "he" referring to. Is suppose to Mr. K. G. Balakrishnan, but is it correctly represented here?

Jaggy

'he' in the second clause is referring to Mr Gokhale, clearly.
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14 Dec 2010, 07:41
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A terrible muddle of ambiguity; actually the expanded séntence will read as follows.

In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted (his) Balakrishnan’s claim that (he)Balakrishnan was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

Plausibly who else can ' he or his’ stand for. It illogical to say that Gokhale contradicted Gokhale’s own claim that Gokhale was not aware that …………..

But the reporter has assumed that every one will understand who Balakrishnan or Gokhale are and what they have been saying in recent times.

A terrible muddle that is
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14 Dec 2010, 08:08
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Yet another example of a newspaper not following GMAT grammar rules...

It's great to keep up on world news - and this particular story is certainly news right now - and it's great to question what you are reading. That said, this is a classic example of "pronoun ambiguity." The reader can definitely infer who "he" refers to, but on the GMAT inferences must be reserved for Reading Comp. If you have to infer who a pronoun is referring to on SC, that's a wrong answer.
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14 Dec 2010, 10:26
daagh wrote:
A terrible muddle of ambiguity; actually the expanded séntence will read as follows.

In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted (his) Balakrishnan’s claim that (he)Balakrishnan was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

Plausibly who else can ' he or his’ stand for. It illogical to say that Gokhale contradicted Gokhale’s own claim that Gokhale was not aware that …………..

But the reporter has assumed that every one will understand who Balakrishnan or Gokhale are and what they have been saying in recent times.

A terrible muddle that is

Thank you all for your responses

I am still left with a little doubt. Is the following sentence correct now? Precisely, can we use 'he' instead of the third occurrence of 'Balakrishnan' or will it create ambiguity?
In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted Balakrishnan’s claim that he was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

TIA
Jaggy
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14 Dec 2010, 18:14
Jaggy,

I think that the use of "he" here...

Quote:
In an embarrassment to former Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, Supreme Court Judge H. L. Gokhale on Tuesday contradicted Balakrishnan’s claim that he was not aware that it was former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, who had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

could still be considered ambiguous. No worries though; I highly doubt you'd be faced with this type of problem on the GMAT.

Think of a simpler example:

"H.L. contradicted K.G.'s claim that he was not aware of the game."

I wrote this sentence, and I'm still confused about who "he" refers to!

Brett
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Re: Pronoun reference doubt   [#permalink] 14 Dec 2010, 18:14
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