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Unnecessary Shift in Pronoun

FSU - ENC4404
by

Daniella DelaOsa

on 23 March 2013

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Transcript of Unnecessary Shift in Pronoun

Unnecessary Shift
in Pronoun Daniella DelaOsa Excuse me, what is a pronoun? However.... Identifying the Problem Shifts in Pronouns Great, now what is
a shift in pronoun? A Side of Pronoun Personal Pronouns A pronoun is defined as a word which can be used instead of a noun Not all pronouns will refer to an antecedent It is important to know and understand personal pronouns because by knowing them, you can determine when ones from different groups are being used in the same piece of writing and fix any problems Demonstrative Pronouns A grammatical error in which the author
starts a sentence, paragraph, or section
of a paper using one particular type of
pronoun and then suddenly shifts to
another - often confusing the reader. Denote an entity of a specific grammatical person Usually the identity of the noun is
made clear earlier in the text by an antecedent Hence why we are puzzled by writers who claim something like... "They say that eating beef is bad for you."

They is a pronoun referring to someone, but who are they? Cows? Whom do they represent? "Everyone here earns over a thousand dollars." The word "everyone" has no antecedent Used to demonstrate
(or indicate) This, that, these and those There are many different types of pronouns Reflexive Pronouns Ends ...self or ...selves and refers to another noun or pronoun Myself, yourself, herself, ourselves Reciprocal Pronouns Used for actions or feelings that are reciprocated Each other, one another "They like one another" First person - I, me, we, etc.

Second person - You

Third person - He, she, they, etc. The most common shift... Is from third person nouns and pronouns He/she/it/they To second person pronouns You/your/yours However, some students switch between first person pronouns I/we/me/us/my/our to other pronouns halfway through a sentence or essay as well. Right or Wrong? When we asked about Anglo-Saxon literature, we discovered you could learn to speak Old English in a few months if a teacher were available to instruct you. Wrong In the faulty sentence, the word we undergoes a pronoun shift to you midway through the discussion Corrected Version: When we asked about Anglo-Saxon literature, we discovered we could learn to speak Old English in a few months if a teacher were available to instruct us. In an effort to be scholarly... Writers will sometimes use the indefinite pronoun "one," as in "Nothing makes one appreciate life like a beefy burrito with one's salsa." Many readers find this diction unnatural or pretentious. Instead.... Writers should take the word "one" and replace it with a specific plural noun. "Nothing makes hungry diners
appreciate life like a beefy burrito
with their salsa." Why is using a specific noun an advantageous choice? Using a noun gives the writer a place to hang an adjective. It allows the author to use more description if he/she needs to. Using a noun means the writer avoids both awkward singular phrases like "his or hers" or "his/her" and still avoids sexist language by inserting a their. When are shifts in pronouns acceptable? Shifts in pronouns are acceptable, as long as the shifts are motivated by meaning and discourse. Consider the sentence below: "I want you to have a talk with them on Monday." Notice how the pronouns in the sentence signal shifts in grammatical person from the speaker (first person) to the listener (second person) to some others (third person) This is a perfectly acceptable sequence of shifts since the speaker (I) is directly addressing the listener (you), and requesting the listener to perform an action with other people (them). Why do shifts in pronouns occur? This error pattern occurs when speakers or writers fail to ensure that any shift in pronoun is motivated by meaning and is consistent with the point of view of the entire discourse. Shifts are kind of like .... Wearing two different shoes Your reader looks at your writing to be dressed one way, but elements of the sentence just don't fit. Why is this error so common? It is common for writers to shift pronouns in written sentences because in everyday speech such shifts are common. Why is it important to avoid unnecessary shifts in pronouns? Because... Pronouns help express the perspective from which a piece is written. Generally, the writer should establish a point of view (first, second, or third person) in the opening sentences and maintain that point of view consistently throughout their work. How can writers correct an unnecessary shift in pronoun? In a passage where an unnecessary shift has been noted, writers should go through and highlight each pronoun, making sure that each sentence is correct Writers should have a peer review their writing as a third-person will encounter the writing with a fresh perspective and be able to catch on inconsistencies the writer may have missed Last but not least, writers should reread the passage aloud and listen for consistency in pronouns Shift in Number A shift in number occurs when both a singular and plural pronoun are used to refer to the same person or group WRONG CORRECT Shift in Person A shift in person occurs when the pronoun and antecedent are in different persons Pronouns can refer to antecedents that are also pronouns. However, the pronoun must always agree with its antecedent in NUMBER and in PERSON First person English has three "persons" or points of view The speaker Second person The person spoken to Third person The person spoken about What is an antecedent? An antecedent is a word that appears early in a sentence or paragraph, one that later words may refer to or replace. WRONG CORRECT The End
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