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    #1

    Ambiguous Pronoun References

    Would this be considered an ambiguity?

    On Sunday, November 15, 1992, the administrators of Cardinal Gibbons High School held their annual orientation for prospective students and their parents, but I didnít attend the event.

    Is it clear that these are the parents of the students, not the parents of the administrators?

    Thank you.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    It is completely clear because we have knowledge of the real world and know that administrators don't invite their own parents to an orientation.
    However, I wouldn't use "their" for the orientation program - I'd use "the."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    I don't like the use of the pronoun, "their". Is there a need for it?
    What about "held an annual orientation for prospective students and parents"?
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    Quote Originally Posted by tedmc View Post
    I don't like the use of the pronoun, "their". Is there a need for it?
    What about "held an annual orientation for prospective students and parents"?
    It has to be "the" annual. You are making it sound like the parents are prospective as well. The parents aren't the ones who will be attending the school as students.

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    #5

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It is completely clear because we have knowledge of the real world and know that administrators don't invite their own parents to an orientation.
    However, I wouldn't use "their" for the orientation program - I'd use "the."
    Do I have to put program after orientation the way you did?

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    #6

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    Ok, so it is "the annual orientation for prospective students and their parents" then, since it is an annual event.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    On Sunday, November 15, 1992, the administrators of Cardinal Gibbons High School held the annual orientation program for prospective students and their parents, but I didnít attend the event.

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    #8

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    That's fine.
    I'd be hard pressed to say what I was doing on November 15, 1992.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Ambiguous Pronoun References

    Quote Originally Posted by FortOtt View Post
    Would this be considered an ambiguity?
    How many readers would genuinely be unsure of the intended meaning? You can find ambiguity in all sorts of things if you look hard enough, but most people look for the most obvious intended meaning. If the administrators had invited their own parents, this could have been made clearer.

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