An unclear antecedent is what happens when you can’t tell which noun a pronoun is supposed to stand in for.

Unclear antecedents can be common in writing about tech because the content can get noun-phrase heavy. The industry likes to verbalize nouns, and noun-ize verbs. Sometimes it can be hard to understand what is doing the doing, or what is being acted upon.

Another favorite hangout for unclear antecedents is in case studies. When writing a piece that describes your client’s client, and then also referring to their customers or end-users, the rhetorical distance between “this, “that” and “they” can get quite long.

Listen to me and my colleagues chat about unclear antecedents in the ANTE episode of the OSP podcast.

📺 You can also watch it on YouTube.

Editing codes are semantic short codes that communicate the rationale behind a suggested edit based on a specific writing guideline.

💡 Find out more about the ANTE editing code.