Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Gotta Love Internet Grammar: Pronoun Abuse

Have you seen that coffee mug that says:

“I’m mentally checking your grammargrammar mug“? (Available from CafePress)

Well, a lot of us grammar nerdies do the same thing with Internet stories.

My chuckle for today came from a video clip and story from Jukin Media showing a pediatrician giving shots to a baby.

(I misread Jukin at first as Junk In. Second chuckle)

“This pediatrician was giving a baby a shot when he began singing a song to keep them calm. As he hummed a goofy tune and playfully poked their tummy, he quickly administered the shots and distracted them from their pain.”

The writer used three singular and four plural pronouns in two awkward sentences.       he, them, he, their, he, them, their

To avoid the his/her problem, the writer used plural pronouns. While this practice is becoming more accepted, it’s awkward and grates on grammar proficient ears. 

If  a sentence seems awkward, rewrite it. Try this next version with one pronoun.

To distract the baby, the pediatrician tickles and taps the baby’s arms, legs, and tummy while singing a boppy song. Tickle, tickle, tickle. Bop, bop, bop…Shot. Giggle, giggle.

Success! No tears.

One more shot. Tickle, tickle, tickle. Bop, bop, bop. Shot.

Oops. Baby takes one deep breathe, scrunches up his face, and howls.

Oh well, it worked the first time.

If you have too many pronouns in a sentence, you will produce an awkward sentence and possibly confuse the reader. Rewrite it.

Janice Hall Heck is coauthor of Triumph Over Terror with Chaplain Bob Ossler.

Read Triumph Over Terror, a multi-award-winning book about Chaplain Bob Ossler’s interactions with suffering people in New York City’s Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. His stories will touch your heart and fill you with compassion for those emergency services workers, search and rescue workers, recovery workers, construction crews, and volunteers who served there in impossible conditions. #NeverForget this time in US History. Read the message of hope in this book.

Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck are working on a book about Ossler’s growing up and living with ADD, attention deficit disorder. It traces his failure and shame in the earliest grades and throughout his life. But when he discovered the cause of his learning and life difficulties, ADD, Ossler turned his life around. From Goober to Doctorate: Strategies for Overcoming ADD is one tentative title.

If you would like more information on this ADD book, please FOLLOW this blog or go to https://bobosslerchaplain.com

Read an excerpt of Triumph Over Terror here.

Excerpt from Triumph Over Terror: “Sweeper Man”

 

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