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Thread: Pronouns

  1. #1
    wace is offline Member
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    Pronouns

    On the horns of a dilemma - yet again, I might add - as to which pronoun is correct or sounds better in the following sentence:

    'I had a friend over for dinner last night. IT/HE was an old friend from high school'
    .

    Instinctively I'd go for IT (as it could be the answer to 'Oh, really, who was it?) but I'd rather wait for a native speaker's enlightened comment.
    Any further information about this 'friend' would normally be added afterwards, I suppose. (His name is... He was a pest as a kid.....)


    Thanks for your help.
    Last edited by wace; 19-Aug-2013 at 10:17.

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: Pronouns

    As the friend's gender is known, use 'he'.

    Consider this instead:

    'I had an old friend from high school over for dinner last night.'

  3. #3
    wace is offline Member
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    Re: Pronouns

    'I had an old friend from high school over for dinner last night.'[/QUOTE]


    Thank you for rephrasing it but you simply connected two sentences. Let's just leave the sentence as it was in my first post, Rover, and concentrate on the pronoun you would use without any previous reference to the friend's gender. Would you still opt for HE?
    Last edited by wace; 19-Aug-2013 at 10:27.

  4. #4
    wace is offline Member
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    Re: Pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    As the friend's gender is known, use 'he'.
    Known? Where in the sentence does it say that it's a man?

  5. #5
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    Re: Pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    Known? Where in the sentence does it say that it's a man?
    As you used 'he', the assumption is you knew your friend was a man.

  6. #6
    wace is offline Member
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    Re: Pronouns

    Sorry if this sounds rude and ungrateful, but could the native speakers who graciously take the trouble to answer my question, kindly stick to the information item being requested?
    I am still not clear as to which pronoun I should use in my sentence. The choice was between HE or IT. Linking two sentences, as you did, Rover, did not shed any light on my doubt.. Sorry

  7. #7
    wace is offline Member
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    Re: Pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    As you used 'he', the assumption is you knew your friend was a man.
    Thank you 5jj. The reference to the friend being a man comes later in the sentence.
    Let me rephrase my question

    - 'I had a friend over for dinner last night.'
    - 'Oh, who was it?
    - 'It was an old friend from high school. You may remember him
    (first reference). His name is Jack Wilkins (second reference)

    Does the use of pronouns in this dialogue sound natural and correct?

    Many thanks for your understanding

  8. #8
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: Pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    Sorry if this sounds rude and ungrateful, but could the native speakers who graciously take the trouble to answer my question, kindly stick to the information item being requested?
    I am still not clear as to which pronoun I should use in my sentence. The choice was between HE or IT. Linking two sentences, as you did, Rover, did not shed any light on my doubt.. Sorry
    It does sound rude and ungrateful, something we are starting to expect from you. To answer your question (the last time I shall do so), it makes no difference whether you use "he" or "it".

  9. #9
    wace is offline Member
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    Re: Pronouns

    Thank you bhaisahab... for your "last" reply. I would not sound rude (as much as I endeavour not to) if moderators and teachers answered my questions the way you did... quite simply and to the point. You will agree with me that connecting two sentences as Rover did, DOES NOT answer my question regarding the use of pronouns in that particular context. I always try to phrase simple questions which generally require simple YES or NO answers. Finally, I wish to point out that Rover has always been extremely helpful, prompt and accurate in his explanations as you have, for that matter, and not a reply from either of you has been read without me thanking you profusely for it.
    Thanks again.
    Last edited by wace; 19-Aug-2013 at 11:11.

  10. #10
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    Re: Pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by wace View Post
    Sorry if this sounds rude and ungrateful, but could the native speakers who graciously take the trouble to answer my question, kindly stick to the information item being requested?
    I am still not clear as to which pronoun I should use in my sentence. The choice was between HE or IT. Linking two sentences, as you did, Rover, did not shed any light on my doubt.. Sorry
    It does sound a bit ungrateful. It also sounds as if you didn't read the first response properly. The first words of post #2 are "As the friend's gender is known, use 'he' ". Rover then went on to give you an alternative suggestion for your sentence which not only negates the need for your concern but is also much tidier and natural. If the person visited your house, then you know what sex that person was.

    You: I had an old friend over for dinner tonight.
    Me: Oh, really? Who was it?
    You: It was a guy I went to school with. I haven't seen him for years.

    In response to "Who was it?" you would start your reply with "It was ..." but at some point you would probably say something that makes the gender clear.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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