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Pronoun reference

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Pronoun reference

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I am very confused with the different principles used in the below questions(both from OG)

1. While depressed property values can hurt sime large investors , they are potentially devestating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life's savings can plunge or even disappear.

2. Japanese researchers are producing a series of robots that can identify human facial expressions, to which they will then respond ; thier goal is primarily creatinga robot that will empathize wtih us.

In the first question I thought they was ambigous(can refer to property values or large investors). But according to OG its not and the sentence is correct.
But in the case of the second question according to OG(and me) they and thier are ambigous(can refer to researchers or robots) . Please help me undestand the reasoning behind both these questions. Also , please let me know if there is some priciple(for pronoun reference) that I can apply generally as I get confused in questions like these.

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Hi,

I get your point.

For first sentence, You are focusing on the subject "property values" that discusses the 2 kinds of impact. It hurts one entity (investors) to an extent but it hurts the other entity (homeowners) even more.
When "they" is used here, it obviously refers to property values to keep the meaning of the sentence intact. If you think it refers to investors, there is a drastic shift in meaning. Obviously here, anyone would agree that investors are NOT devastating for homeowners (at least according to the author's intent. maybe its true elsewhere Smile)
So, we should not just look at pronoun references grammatically and judge the sentence. We should also whether the sentence is meaningful.

For second, it's the same case. "they" can refer only to robots. Only robots would respond to the facial expressions of human and definitely not the researchers. Also, "their" refers to the researchers and it cannot refer to robots because robot's primary goal is NOT creating another robot Smile.

It's too difficult for us to notice this under timed conditions. But we must adapt ourselves to these kinds of usages. Whenever you notice a pronoun ambiguity, see if the intended meaning is drastically shifted when you are debating b/w 2 or 3 entities. If the meaning goes awkward for every entity, then in most cases you don't have to worry about the pronoun reference. We must not get carried away blindly by looking from a grammatical perspective.

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Na papi, we never need to look for meaning to resolve pronoun reference.

In first sentence, while introduce a subordinate clause, and the one that starts after comma is main clause, subject of one in such cases may be un-ambiguiosly referred through because the investors are part of object, a noun appearing in object part is never a candidate for subject pronoun.

Our knowledge of pronoun referent is evolving as we see more variance from official sources, this is one.

papgust wrote:
Hi,

I get your point.

For first sentence, You are focusing on the subject "property values" that discusses the 2 kinds of impact. It hurts one entity (investors) to an extent but it hurts the other entity (homeowners) even more.
When "they" is used here, it obviously refers to property values to keep the meaning of the sentence intact. If you think it refers to investors, there is a drastic shift in meaning. Obviously here, anyone would agree that investors are NOT devastating for homeowners (at least according to the author's intent. maybe its true elsewhere Smile)
So, we should not just look at pronoun references grammatically and judge the sentence. We should also whether the sentence is meaningful.

For second, it's the same case. "they" can refer only to robots. Only robots would respond to the facial expressions of human and definitely not the researchers. Also, "their" refers to the researchers and it cannot refer to robots because robot's primary goal is NOT creating another robot Smile.

It's too difficult for us to notice this under timed conditions. But we must adapt ourselves to these kinds of usages. Whenever you notice a pronoun ambiguity, see if the intended meaning is drastically shifted when you are debating b/w 2 or 3 entities. If the meaning goes awkward for every entity, then in most cases you don't have to worry about the pronoun reference. We must not get carried away blindly by looking from a grammatical perspective.

_________________
Charged up again to beat the beast Smile

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