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In this example, the underlined pronoun does not clearly refer back to one noun or pronoun:

X I had to run outside even though the weather was terrible, and it was bad.


Does it refer to the weather, to running outside, or to both? True, we understand the basic idea of the sentence, and the statement might be fine in informal communication when precision is not so important. Nonetheless, the rule is that you should avoid vague pronouns in formal writing―or in any situation when you want to communicate your ideas as exactly as possible.


If so, would you tell me how I should rewrite the sentence to avoid vague pronoun 'it'?

I had to run outside even though the weather was terrible, and the experience/situation was bad ?

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How can we be expected to suggest a way of rewriting it if we don't know what the intended meaning really is?

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anonymousIf so, would you tell me how I should rewrite the sentence to avoid vague pronoun 'it'?

Dear Anon;

You did not give the entire context. I think this is what you were reading.

What’s the Problem?

Pronouns that require an antecedent must clearly refer back to a previous noun or pronoun. When they fail to do so, a vague pronoun results, meaning that the writer or speaker is not communicating effectively. The blame tends to be placed on the vague pronoun, but usually the source of the problem is the lack of a clear antecedent.

In this example, the underlined pronoun does not clearly refer back to one noun or pronoun:

X I had to run outside even though the weather was terrible, and it was bad.

Does it refer to the weather, to running outside, or to both? True, we understand the basic idea of the sentence, and the statement might be fine in informal communication when precision is not so important. Nonetheless, the rule is that you should avoid vague pronouns in formal writing—or in any situation when you want to communicate your ideas as exactly as possible.


There is no good re-write for this sentence simply because there is no clear reference. The remedy is to drop the vague expression.

I had to run outside even though the weather was terrible.

If you want to use your imagination and second-guess the author, that is ok.

I had to run outside even though the weather was terrible. What a horrible experience! I got soaked to the bone and ended up with a bad case of pneumonia..

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Comments  

There's no context. That's all.

 AlpheccaStars's reply was promoted to an answer.
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