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Pronoun Reference


Correct Pronoun-Antecedent Reference and Agreement.

Rule 4:
Use Who to Refer to People, That to Introduce Essential Clauses, and Which to Introduce Nonessential Clauses
Pronouns and antecedents should agree in the proper use of the relative pronouns to:

• Refer either to persons or to things
• Introduce either essential or nonessential clauses (although not strictly an agreement problem)

The principles governing the use of relative pronouns are summarized as follows:

1. Who, whom, and whose refer to humans (although whose is also used to refer to things other than humans) and can introduce either essential or nonessential clauses.
2. That refers to things other than humans and is used to introduce essential clauses.
3. Which refers to things other than humans and is used to introduce nonessential clauses.

Examples:

• Instead of saying "The police officer that made the arrest," say "The police officer who made the arrest."
• Instead of saying "The company who bought the materials," say "The company that bought the materials."


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