Third person pronouns might be ambiguous at times

By | August 9, 2019

I told him many times to speak politely… (who is ‘he’? )

My relatives and some of my friends came here. They took the mirrors… (who took the mirrors, relatives or friends..? )

Jankai reminded Vyshnavi when she wanted her book… (who wanted whose book?)

Here all, finding out the subject of the clause is the point of the question as you are not sure of the intended antecedent of the pronouns used which in turn leads to many follow-up questions. And of course you know how frustrating and time consuming it is.

While talking to someone, we take a blind assumption that the listener can well relate to the context so as we. Or in some cases we simply forget the fact the listener was not present before and so things should be presented with proper anchor names and not third person pronouns.

We know who ‘I’ and ‘You’ are as they are mostly independent on the context. So normally first and second person pronouns won’t cause any ambiguities. But while it’s about the third person pronouns, it can cause troubles even when used technically correct. I am pointing specifically on their usage in conversations where in listener fails to understand whom the third person pronoun is referring to.  

In such cases, simply recast the sentences with more information say adding a little bit of context to the scenario as mentioned here (Don’t forget context while communicating) or use names itself instead of pronouns. Anyways whether to make the sentence lengthier (with more contextual clues) or ambiguous.. that’s your choice !

Of course, the third person pronouncs make the communication easier and writing faster. But those simple words can mislead the readers and listeners if used vaguely. So

In talks or narrations erase the ambiguity with contextual clues and proper character names instead of frequent use of third person pronouns. And thus save the listeners from their mistaken fantasies. After all time is so precious, why should you make the listener ask so many follow-up questions?

16 thoughts on “Third person pronouns might be ambiguous at times

    1. Akhila Post author

      Hi Drew.. thanks a lot for checking.. it really means a lot…I am okay, but yes with certain ups and downs…how are you doing?

      Reply
        1. Akhila Post author

          Vision problems…okay…obey 20-20-20 rule while using gadgets (yes, In fact a self reminder itself as I also have some occasional eye strains)

          Reply
          1. thelonelyauthorblog

            Oh, I have had four surgeries on my right eye. Much more complicated. Reading blurs my already blurred vision. I am working around it taking larger reading reaks, more liughting, larger fonts.
            Thanks for your concern.

          2. Akhila Post author

            Oh now I get it…much complicated than I thought … of course you would be knowing how to take good care and be attentive … hope you got settled in your place( sorry if I missed something recently)

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