6. Pronoun-Antecedent Order : WAKE Editing Articles and Advice
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6. Pronoun-Antecedent Order

by Weston Kincade on 11/23/13

The last common pronoun-antecedent agreement error many writers make deals with pronoun order, also known as anticipatory reference. The pronoun should not come before the antecedent it is referring to in a sentence. If it does, the reader has a tendency of looking for the antecedent in the previous sentence, which can cause confusion.

 

Pronoun-Antecedent Order Error

IncorrectStan was enamored with her, but Megan had no interest in him.

The pronouns in this sentence are her and him. The problematic one is her. On its own, this sentence wouldn’t pose a problem for most readers. However, if the sentence before this one mentioned another woman, then confusion could ensue. The pronoun her should never have come before the antecedent Megan.

 

Pronoun-Antecedent Order Solution

The solution to this pronoun-antecedent error is simple, change the order. This may require you to use a different pronoun, like in this sentence.

CorrectStan was enamored with Megan, but she had no interest in him.

Now the sentence makes complete sense without the risk of confusion.

 

For more explanations of common pronoun-antecedent agreement errors, try the following articles.

 

Common Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors

1. Singular-Plural Inconsistency

2. Singular Indefinite Pronoun Inconsistency

3. Gender Inconsistency

4. Missing Antecedents

5. Ambiguous Antecedents

6. Pronoun-Antecedent Order

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