I’ve often said that it’s the simple words that get officers into trouble when they write reports. Today we’re going to look at she and her. Easy words, right?
Wrong. There’s a problem called indefinite pronoun reference that often creates confusion.
Here’s a typical mistake. Can you figure out what’s wrong?
Martha said she had not been in touch with her daughter in quite a while because her telephone wasn’t working. INCORRECT
Whose telephone wasn’t working? When there are two women in a sentence, she becomes a confusing (or indefinite) word.
Be specific about identities when you’re using pronouns (he, she, him, her, they). Here’s a more clear version of the same sentence:
Martha said she had not been in touch with her daughter in quite a while because her daughter’s telephone wasn’t working. CORRECT