APA Fact of the Week: Vague Pronouns

APA Editing

When writing your dissertation, focus on using precision and clarity regarding word choice and organization. Readers should not find difficulty reading the text or deciphering the meaning of the sentences. Pronouns should be limited in use, as these words often create reader confusion and ambiguity (APA6, 3.09, p. 68).

Vague pronouns include: this, that, these, and those

To eliminate ambiguity, clearly define what each pronoun refers to in the sentence. For example: this test, that trial, these participants, and those reports.

Example sentences:

(Correct) These scores revealed the winner of the game.

(Incorrect) These revealed the winner of the game.


(Correct) According to the coach’s statement, some players were injured.

(Incorrect) According to this, some players were injured.

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