Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writing help: Pronoun References

What is a pronoun?

According to dictionary.com, a pronoun is:

pronoun

[proh-noun] 
 
nounGrammar.
1.
any member of a small class of words found in many languages that are used as
replacements or substitutes for nouns and noun phrases, and that have very 
general reference, as I, you, he, this, who, what. 

Pronouns are sometimes formally distinguished from nouns, as in English by the 
existence of special objective forms, as him for he orme for I, and by 
nonoccurrence with an article or adjective.

When I wrote my first book, (which was a disaster and to this day hasn't been published,) I used he and she everywhere. Years later, when I went back to read it, I had no idea who was talking, especially if there was a group of more than two people.

If you re-read your entry, your pronoun should clearly indicate the reference to the character.  If there's any doubt, use the person's name.

For example, in the following paragraph, I'm talking about one 'she' while another one is thinking.  The last reference to the name isn't the 'she' being referenced, so I have to replace it with a name.  (This is from the Lingerie Castle, by Markee Anderson):

Alex missed Camden and wished him well in her mind while she worried about him.  But he was with Desiree now and she was nothing compared to her.

I've underlined the 'she' that I'm referencing.  That's supposed to be Alex (short for Alexis).  Which ever name used last, that's the male/female pronoun that will be referenced.  In this second sentence, Desiree is mentioned as the last name, so 'she' would refer to Desiree in most reader's mind.  But I wanted that 'she' to refer to Alex, thus, it should be:

Alex missed Camden and wished him well in her mind while she worried about him.  But he was with Desiree now and Alex was nothing compared to her.
Just make sure the pronouns refer to the right person and it's very clear.


Have a great day!
Sweet Tale Books

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