Lesson: Pronouns - Part II

Comment on Pronouns - Part II

Hello Brent ! I Understood that " That " and "those " do not necessarily replace their antecedents but whats the take away ? Does it mean it is wrong to use That and those as their could be ambiguity regarding the antecedent ?
gmat-admin's picture

The takeaway is that those pronouns are not necessarily equal to their antecedents.

For example, consider the sentence "Today, Joe's nose is longer than IT was yesterday."
So, we could also write "Today, Joe's nose is longer than JOE'S NOSE was yesterday."

Now consider the sentence "Joe's nose is longer than THAT of Fred."
Here THAT does not equal JOE'S NOSE. We cannot write "Joe's nose is longer than JOE'S NOSE of Fred."

Instead, THAT refers to noses in general.


1) Do I understand it correctly, that "that/those" play a similar role to the words "corresponding or respective"

Andy's novels are reviewed more often than those of any other writer.

Those of - plays a role of "corresponding or respective novels".

2) Where can I use this/these in the same way as you explained instances for "that and those"

Can I say:

Andy's novels are reviewed more often than these of any other writer.

Thank you in advance
gmat-admin's picture

1) I wouldn't say that THAT/THOSE play a similar role to the words "corresponding" or "respective".
If anything, I'd say the word OF plays a role similar to that of "corresponding" and "respective"

In the sentence "Andy's novels are reviewed more often than THOSE of any other writer," the word THOSE is a placeholder for THE NOVELS.
In other words, Andy's novels are reviewed more often than THE NOVELS of any other writer.

2) THIS and THESE is used for things close to the writer/speaker, while THOSE is used for things distant from the writer/speaker.
Some grammarians say that if you stand in one spot and can touch one of the object(s) you're referring to, then use THIS/THESE.
If you must point to indicate the object(s), or if you can't even do that, use THOSE.

In the sentence about Andy's novels the OTHERS' NOVELS are not within reach, so we must use THOSE.

Here's an example of THESE: If Joe is sitting beside a pile of vintage stamps, he might say: Sue's stamps are worth a lot more than THESE."


This/These also do not necessarily replace antecedents right?
gmat-admin's picture

Tough question!
I believe that THIS/THESE always have antecedents. Sometimes, however, the antecedent is not directly stated.

For example:
Joy entered the room to find her dog destroying a pillow. She thought, "THIS is why cats are better than dogs."
Here THIS refers to the INCIDENT of the dog destroying a pillow.

Do you have any particular examples in which THIS/THESE don't seem to have antecedents?


Hi Brent,

Could you help with the following question?

1. She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering the more than 50 plants in her yard.
2. She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering more than the 50 plants in her yard.

Which one is correct and why?

gmat-admin's picture

Both of the sentence can be correct. It depends on the message you're trying to convey.

Let's first start with this abridged version of sentence 1:
1. She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering the 50 plants in her yard.
Here, there are exactly 50 plants, and she waters them every day

Here's the full sentence:
1. She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering the MORE THAN 50 plants in her yard.
This has the exact same meaning, except now there are MORE THAN 50 plants.

2. She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, every day watering more than the 50 plants in her yard.
This sentence tells us that there are exactly 50 plants in her yard, and in addition to watering those 50 plants, she also waters other plants/things (presumably outside her yard).
It's a little odd, but it would be accurate if that's the intended message.

Hi Brent,
I have a doubt in pronoun, what does 'it' in dependent clause refers when there are two singular nouns in main clause.
In this case will it lead to ambiguity or does it refer to nearest noun or subject of the main clause.
can you please explain in such scenario as i have seen in few OG questions and getting confused.
gmat-admin's picture

It's difficult to comment on this without an example. Can you send a link to a question with this issue?

In the meantime, if the singular pronoun IT appears after two singular nouns, then it's possible to have some ambiguity.
For example:
After setting a plate on the table, Joe noticed IT was dirty.
In this example, it's unclear whether the plate is dirty or the table is dirty.

Does that help?

Thanks Brent.The question is https://gmatclub.com/forum/while-depressed-property-values-can-hurt-some-large-investors-they-18708.html
Can you please explain this one :where 'they' refer to subject of the clause instead of nearest subject.In this sentence however it makes sense only with the subject, I am just worried whether this rule applies in all cases even if it 2 antecedents make sense.

gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/while-depressed-property-values-can-hurt-some...

The sentence: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear.

This situation is addressed at 2:50 of the following video: https://www.gmatprepnow.com/module/gmat-sentence-correction/video/1162

Here we have parallel structure in which the first (dependent) clause is parallel to the second (independent) clause.
That is we have: While VALUES can do one thing, THEY also do another thing.
And both clauses, the subject appears at the beginning of the clause. Given the parallel nature of the two clauses, we can assume THEY represents the subject of the first clause.

Does that help?

Thank you so much Brent.After watching the video again ,i am able to relate it clearly .

It's interesting that you chose to end the video by saying ...."that's all I want to say about that"...
gmat-admin's picture

Perhaps I should have ended by saying "...that's all I have to say about THEY" :-)


Would you please explain this one?
Couldn’t able to get

gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/an-array-of-tax-incentives-has-led-to-a-boom-...

Original sentence: An array of tax incentives has led to a boom in the construction of new office buildings; SO abundant has capital been for commercial real estate THAT investors regularly scour the country for areas in which to build.

It helps to know that we can take a sentence such as "The country's tax laws have been SO convoluted THAT many accountants are unable to interpret them" and rewrite it as "So convoluted have the country's tax laws been THAT many accountants are unable to interpret them."

Similarly, we can take the second part (the part after the ";") of the original sentence and rewrite it as "Capital for commercial real estate has been SO abundant THAT investors regularly scour the country for areas in which to build."

By rewording the sentence this way, we can see that answer choice A is perfectly worded.

Hi Brent
I need your help with the following sentence...

"John found a box of nails in the attic but could not use THEM because THEY were rusted."

Is the above sentence correct? If yes, why?
gmat-admin's picture

I'm not 100% sure how the GMAT would view this sentence, but here's my take:

Some people will argue that it's unclear what the pronouns THEM and THEY refer to. However, since NAILS is the only plural noun that precedes THEM and THEY, these pronouns clearly represent NAIL. So, in my opinion, the sentence is fine.

Understood. Thank you :)

Hi Brent,
What will be the antecedent of pronoun “It” in below sentence.

Although the term “supercomputer” may sound fanciful or exaggerated, it is simply an extremely fast mainframe than can execute trillions of calculations every second.

Is it the noun “supercomputer”..??
gmat-admin's picture

This is Manhattan Prep's version of the following official GMAT question: Although the term “psychopath” is popularly applied to an especially brutal criminal, in psychology it is someone who is apparently incapable of feeling compassion or the pangs of conscience (https://gmatclub.com/forum/although-the-term-psychopath-is-popularly-app...)

The problem with the supercomputer sentence, is that the beginning, "Although the TERM (WORD) “supercomputer”...." tells us that the subject of the sentence is the WORD "SUPERCOMPUTER" which means the sentence is telling us that some word is an extremely fast MAINFRAME, and this makes no sense.

Please tell which sentence is correct and why?

1. Her company is outperforming that of her competitor.
2. Her company is outperforming those of her competitors.
3. Her company is outperforming the companies of her competitors.
gmat-admin's picture

Sorry, but I prefer not to answer unofficial Verbal questions since they often don’t represent what you’ll encounter on test day (please see comment policy)

If you have the specific questions about Manhattan Prep questions, you can ask them here: https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/forums/

That said, I'll do my best to answer this one last question from Manhattan Prep.

1) This suggests that the person who owns the company has only one competitor. If that's true, then the sentence is correct.

2) Her company is outperforming those of her competitors.
This sentence seems fine to me, although I imagine some people might argue that THOSE suggests her competitors each have multiple companies.

3) Looks good to me.

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