Anonymous:
Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to (these / them) for guidance.

I would like to know the reason why "these" is not proper for this sentence.

I think I can feel "them" is more appropriate, but I can't explain it.
Hi,
Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to (these / them) for guidance.

I would like to know the reason why "these" is not proper for this sentence.

I think I can feel "them" is more appropriate, but I can't explain it.

'These' is not wrong. It shows that the speaker is focusing closely on the messages, ie that they are close to him in his mind.

Clive
Veteran Member69,557
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Anonymous:
Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to (these / them) for guidance.

I would like to know the reason why "these" is not proper for this sentence.

I think I can feel "them" is more appropriate, but I can't explain it.

Hi,

In your sentence the word 'to' is a preposition and as such should be followed by pronouns in the objective case, so 'them' is a correct case. The pronoun 'these' can be used in the nominative case or as an adjective.

Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to them for guidance. ['Them', (dreams), in the objective case; pronouns which follow prepositions are in the objective case.]

Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to these messages for guidance. ['These' used as a demonstrative adjective; some grammarians describe such a 'these' as a 'determiner'.]

If I were a dreams keeper in some fantasy fiction or drama I would be able to show you around my dream store where I could say someting like that: These are the old dreams. Those are the new ones. ['These' and 'those' used as pronouns in the nominative case (as the sentence subjects, hence the nominative.]
AnonymousI would like to know the reason why "these" is not proper for this sentence.
these is not improper; it is merely unusual.
AnonymousI think I can feel "them" is more appropriate, but I can't explain it.
One of the unwritten principles of communication is to say no more than you have to. these is more emphatic; them is neutral. There is no particular reason why emphasis should be used at that point in the sentence, so the emphatic form these seems to violate the principle by saying more than needs to be said.

It's somewhat like repeating a name in a story instead of using pronouns, as in saying "Barry went for a walk with Barry's girlfriend" instead of saying "Barry went for a walk with his girlfriend".

CJ
Veteran Member53,486
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Hi again,
Some people ignore the messages in their dreams, but others look to (these / them) for guidance.

I would like to know the reason why "these" is not proper for this sentence.

I think I can feel "them" is more appropriate, but I can't explain it.

As I said, 'these' shows the speaker is focusing closely on 'the messages in their dreams'. In other words, he wishes to add some emhasis. eg I'm talking about these, not those that I haven't mentioned.

Whether the degree of emphasis is appropriate in the larger context in which this sentence might fit is unknown to us. We can, however, say that the word 'these' is not incorrect.

Clive

Clive
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