I'm currently doing an analytic essay on my drama coursework (fun.). I'd like to explain how the playwright never reveals the exact setting of the act, by using only phrases such as "this","here", and "they".

The exact sentence is:

The overall effect of these two pages is that the audience becomes wary of a suspicious underlying element of the whole act, whilst maintaining the ambiguity through use of X such as “this”, ”here”, and "they"

Are they indirect pronouns? Many thanks!

  • 1
    They are unreferenced pronouns: demonstrative, demonstrative, personal. They "maintain ambiguity" if there are no referents.
    – ScotM
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 8:52
  • So would it be correct for me to say "through use of unreferenced pronouns..." ?
    – user72891
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:45
  • 3
    There seems to be something wrong with your sentence. It says that the audience maintains the ambiguity through use of these unreferenced deictics/pronouns—but surely the audience aren't the ones who are using them? Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 10:41
  • I would substitute "effect of these two pages is to make the audience wary..." This averts making the audience the putative subject of "whilst...." Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 11:32
  • Ah, you're right. Oops. I'll change that now. Thank you!
    – user72891
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


Try "indirect terms".

Or, as ScotM suggested, "unreferenced"

"This" and "they" are pronouns, but "here" isn't.

  • 1
    Isn't unreferenced deictic a contradiction in terms? Deictic manqué? Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 11:53
  • Even I don't include 'deictics' as a word class. 'Here' is deictic (your 'here' is usually different from mine), but I'd class it as a locative/directional particle. 'They' should only be used deictically, but the classic 'They say it's not as bad as they say it is' deserves preserving for posterity. Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 20:49

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