About that ‘dog in the bin’ thing…

Okay, do you remember that Guardian article I was waving about a few days ago?

The Guardian: ten everyday grammar mistakes

Yeah, that one. Well, along with the article there was a picture…

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Yup, that’s the one.

I’ve written the piece, patted myself on the back, gone out, got drunk, come back, gone to sleep… then woke up in the middle of the night screaming, “Christ on a bike! It’s right!”

I’d remembered one of those frayed and faded grammar rules that I picked up in university, but never found a reference to say whether it was real or not. Y’see I think that poster is correct.

As far as I remember the rule goes something like this: the pronoun (in this case ‘it’) refers to the nearest noun (in this case… ‘poo’) which is the  antecedant of the pronoun. (Don’t take my word for it. Check with Grammar Girl.)

But before sticking slavishly to the rules, remember that your writing has two aims:

  1. clarity
  2. not to get laughed at for the wrong reasons.

 

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