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"Tom said to Sam that he should go to the shop."

In the above sentence, 'he' refers to whom? There is ambiguity here,right?. It can mean either tom or sam. So is the sentence above correct? If not, how to write it properly?

closed as off-topic by Kris, Jason Bassford, JJJ, curiousdannii, JonMark Perry Jun 29 '18 at 5:30

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    In the sentence is "correct" grammatically but hangs in the air semantically. It's ambiguous. A pronoun cannot stand without a clear reference. – Kris Jun 28 '18 at 9:12
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    Possible duplicate of How are pronouns resolved? – Jason Bassford Jun 28 '18 at 10:00
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"He" could also refer to a third person e.g. Harry.

The sentence is perfectly alright, provided the context is clear to the listener. Otherwise, you need to say "Tom said to Sam that he, Tom/Sam, should go to the shop".

You cannot use this form if you mean Harry, however, when you need simply to replace "he" with "Harry". –

  • With context, it "could" refer to someone specific but not necessarily. It's always open to interpretation. – Kris Jun 28 '18 at 9:14

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