11 votes
Accepted

What is "it" in the following sentence: It is clear that Bob likes doughnuts

The it in both example sentences is, as noted, a "dummy it" -- that is, this it is not referential, and thus doesn't have any meaning, because meaning in pronouns is a matter of reference ...
10 votes
Accepted

SAT question, pronoun "their"

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original sentence. There would also be absolutely nothing wrong with this alternative, which is probably what the examiners wanted: John was one of the ...
  • 17.5k
10 votes

SAT question, pronoun "their"

It is grammatical. John was one of several astronomers who devoted all their time to Science. "their" refers to "several astronomers" and John was just one of them. "Mary Ann is one of the girls ...
  • 49.3k
9 votes

Personal pronoun before noun?

a. Before Sarahi can board the bus, shei needs to get some coins for the fare. b. Before shei can board the bus, Sarahi needs to get some coins for the fare. Pronouns can: Refer to anything in ...
9 votes
Accepted

Does the word "that" refer to "features" or "windows 9x"?

Both instances of "that" refer back to the specific features alluded to at the beginning of the sentence when it says "a number of features". Microsoft built a number of features into Windows 9x that ...
  • 2,659
8 votes
Accepted

Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

Hmm... Did you consider that "them"'s referrent might be unexpressed? Them refers not to cookie, but to "cookies", the plural form of the noun expressed in the sentence and whose existence is implied. ...
7 votes
Accepted

How can the relative pronoun 'which' have an adjectival phrase as its antecedent? Exactly what may act as antecedent for 'which'?

Relative clauses with which can have a wide variety of phrases as antecedent, despite the fact that which is often described as a relative pronoun: Preposition phrase - They alleged the party was on ...
6 votes

Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

Your example sounds just fine to my ear, but if I replace the subject and verb in the sentence, I can create a less acceptable sentence, such as: I like this teacher so much that I befriended dozens ...
  • 8,145
6 votes
Accepted

You can't put a flower in an a**hole and call it a vase

You can't put a flower in an a***hole and say it's in a vase and You can't put a flower in an a***hole and call the a***hole a vase would both also be valid paraphrasings of the same sentence, ...
  • 4,515
5 votes
Accepted

Antecedent of "velocity u" in "particles moving in a medium with macroscopic velocity u"

The key is the word macroscopic. In fluid dynamics the macroscopic velocity is a vector giving the magnitude and direction of the fluid. Individual particles within compressible fluids may have ...
4 votes
Accepted

What does this "it" refer to?

First, forget the supposed rule that pronouns refer to the most recent noun mentioned. It's not really how they work. As a reader, you should try to figure out the antecedent by looking at what would ...
  • 74.8k
4 votes

Antecedent of "it" in "dropped the amulet into the bag and hooked it"

I think there's very little ambiguity. The sense follows naturally. If the amulet is in the bag, it has to be the bag that's hooked. Writing the sentence the first way implies a quickness and ease ...
  • 3,977
4 votes

Should an antecedent of "everyone" take "their" or "his" or "our" as its corresponding possessive pronoun?

Your test is unfair, because there is no single answer that everyone would agree upon. Everybody, along with everyone, traditionally uses a singular pronoun of reference: everybody must sign his ...
3 votes

"There is a picture of myself on the wall." Can a reflexive pronoun be used without an antecedent like this?

There are many uses for the word myself, and to treat it as only a reflexive pronoun is too prescriptive — so prescriptive, in fact, that it would be wrong. The use you give is indeed accepted as ...
  • 2,699
3 votes

noun-pronoun agreement

The 'rule' is that you go left until you find the first antecedent that works. In your example that would be stars. This is not particularly intuitive. The type of pronoun limits its antecedents. A ...
3 votes

Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

In general, a plural pronoun should go with a plural referent. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule, and I believe this is one of them. In particular, you can use a number of them, ...
3 votes

I want to lnow what is the antecedent of the pronoun “it” in the following context?

The "it" referred to is the existence of ripples in the fabric of space, or (equivalently) the idea of such ripples. Note that this is a common device in media: discuss an idea in original prose, ...
3 votes

Opposite of Extinction

While extant is (roughly) the opposite of extinct (the state of [still] existing vs. the state of not existing), I would contend that there isn't an analogous opposite to extinction: extinction [TFD] ...
  • 3,024
3 votes

Does the word "that" refer to "features" or "windows 9x"?

Let's address this in a very simple manner. Remove into Windows 9x from the sentence. Let us withhold the subject (Windows 9x in this case) for a moment. Does the sentence still make sense? Does the ...
3 votes
Accepted

Don't be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking

Supplementary relatives allow wide range of antecedents, including clauses. (CaGEL p1035): Pat is afraid of snakes, which doesn’t surprise me at all The antecedent of the relativised element in ...
  • 6,519
3 votes

keep it inside your body, where it belongs [antecedent of 'where']

Yes, so if you want to keep it inside your body, where it belongs, you should stop jumping off trucks doing eighty on the interstate! If you split the relative clause into a separate sentence, it ...
  • 74.8k
2 votes
Accepted

‘It’ – ambiguous antecedent?

Grammatically, yes. Semantically, no. The first sentence has program as the subject of input, with token being the object. Since the following sentence uses the same word in an obviously parallel ...
2 votes

What does this "it" refer to?

It refers definitely to the pizza. For the vibrant description to be the referent to it, the sentence would need to be worded as follows (for example): When I heard Gilbert's vibrant description ...
  • 18.9k
2 votes

You can't put a flower in an a**hole and call it a vase

There's no rule that "it" refers to the object of a sentence; it can generally refer to any previous noun or noun phrase. It can even be used without an explicit antecedent (the so-called "dummy it"). ...
  • 74.8k
2 votes

Is there a rule to determine to which word is a pronoun related?

William Cantrall discovered that sometimes you can disambiguate such examples by making the pitch contours of antecedent and pronoun agree. In the following, I use strings of single digits for pitch ...
  • 17k
2 votes
Accepted

Is there a rule to determine to which word is a pronoun related?

Syntax determines some places in which a particular noun phrase can not be the antecedent of a pronoun, but other than those absolute prohibitions, the choice of antecedent is determined by discourse ...
  • 1,609
2 votes

Is there a rule to determine to which word is a pronoun related?

Your sentence is ambiguous. The antecedent of a pronoun depends on nuance of prior knowledge. This is a problem for shallow AI. A person can usually figure who is who in: 'Sally spanked Sue because ...
  • 3,574
2 votes
Accepted

Are these two 'that's relative pronouns? If then, what is the antecedent of each of them?

Yes, those are two relative pronouns. The move is the antecedent of both thats. The main clause: Was there some move? relative clause 1: the move is beyond what was being presented to me ...
  • 1,710
2 votes

"one of the cables that runs" or "one of the cables that run"?

When 'One of' is the subject of a statement/clause, it should be followed by a determiner and a plural noun and the verb should agree with the subject in number, i.e singular. E.g: One of my friends ...
2 votes
Accepted

"one of the cables that runs" or "one of the cables that run"?

Hmm. I have just reversed myself on this, to the extent that I have removed my comment disagreeing with Chris M's answer. Logically, it should be "run", unless it means that only one of the cables ...
  • 75.1k

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