Pronoun Reference

Correct Pronoun-Antecedent Reference and Agreement.

Rule 2:
Avoid meaningless pronouns
(also known as expletives)
Pronouns without antecedents are also called expletives. The most common expletives are probably it and there, although other pronouns can also be expletives. For example, we often use they as a meaningless pronoun, as in "they say the grass is always greener on the other side."

Examples (the italicized pronouns don't refer to an antecedent at all):

• He said that it is very important to listen carefully.
They claimed that there was nothing wrong with the book.
It is essential to our project to have you on the committee.

Notice the difference in the following examples, which have been rewritten without expletives.

• He said that listening carefully is very important.
• The critics claimed that nothing was wrong with the book.
• Having you on the committee is essential to our project.

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