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Pronoun Reference (1 Viewer)

EternalGreen

Senior Member
"Charlotte crossed her arms. Joan sat down. She . . ." This obviously goes back to "Joan," not Charlotte.

"Charlotte and Joan walked downstairs. She . . ." Who does this refer to? I want to say it goes back to "Joan" because she is referenced last.

Will readers accept this, or do I risk unclarity?
 

druid12000

Senior Member
It would be unclear because they both walked down the stairs. One would have to be referenced, I would think.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
"Charlotte crossed her arms. Joan sat down. She . . ." This obviously goes back to "Joan," not Charlotte.

"Charlotte and Joan walked downstairs. She . . ." Who does this refer to? I want to say it goes back to "Joan" because she is referenced last.

Will readers accept this, or do I risk unclarity?

You'd have to put 'Joan ...' if you want it to reference to her. You can easily get rid of the repetition by changing it to 'They both walked down the stairs. Joan ...'
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
To me, the first example would be easier to accept. This is because you have created a little more separation between the two characters and they are doing two different things.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Unclarity, but lots of ways to fix as posts above. Another version:

"Charlotte crossed her arms. Joan sat down and then she...
"She walked downstairs with Charlotte. Joan....
 
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