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  1. #1
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    Default Rules for 2 pronouns and 2 antecedents

    Hello,
    I have been examining Romans 8:9 from the New King James Version of the Bible in order to teach proper interpretation of the Bible. A sentence in this verse says, "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
    What are the rules of grammar that state which antecedents the pronouns refer to in this case? Apparantly, "he" refers to "anyone" and "His" refers to "Christ," according to the capital "H."

    Can you provide the rules of grammar that show that this is either correct or incorrect? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Rules for 2 pronouns and 2 antecedents

    Just the capitalisation in my opinion- if you put the second into lower case, it would look a bit of a mess.

  3. #3
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Rules for 2 pronouns and 2 antecedents

    The rule is this:

    If the use of a pronoun could cause confusion then don't use a pronoun. In your example, as TDOL pointed out, the capital letter eliminates the possibility of confusion.

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    Default Re: Rules for 2 pronouns and 2 antecedents

    Thankyou very much for your answers. I understand that the capitalization shows that "His" refers to "Christ", and that a pronoun should not be used if it is unclear. However, some versions of the Bible do not capitalize pronouns relating to Christ, and so the reader of those versions would need to know how to determine the correct interpretation. I am looking for the rule in english grammar that would tell the interpreter which pronoun to capitalize. Why does the first pronoun refer to "anyone" and the second pronoun refer to "Christ?" Why is it not the other way around? For example, one rule states that if there are 2 nouns and 1 pronoun, the pronoun refers to the nearest antecedent. Is there a similar rule when there are 2 nouns and 2 pronouns? Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Rules for 2 pronouns and 2 antecedents

    Not necessarily; if I give two thing to two people, I could say 'I gave them to them' or even 'I gave them them', and the grammar of the ditransitive verb tells us which is which and they reverse, so it is not automatically to do with placement IMO. In the Bible example, then I think if we used lower case for the second, then identification would be through logic rather than a formula- meaning driven.

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