What does it refer to, in the following paragraph?

After O. Henry's marriage to Athol Estes in 1887, he began to write funny pieces for newspapers. He became so interested in writing that he bought a paper and made it a humorous weekly called The Rolling Stone. He wrote most of the pieces for it and even illustrated the articles himself. When the paper did not make enough money, he took a job writing for The Houston Daily Post as a reported and journalist.

Between these words, which is the correct reference of it?

  1. Paper
  2. Piece
  3. Writing
  4. The Rolling Stone

I know the answer is not 3 or 4, but I am not sure whether it is 1 or 2.

  • 2
    The antecedent for it will be a noun earlier in the sentence. The pronoun is used again in the next sentence, "most of the pieces for it."
    – TimR
    Jan 7, 2017 at 10:59
  • 2
    Generally, it's the nearest preceding noun phrase that serves as antecedent of pro-forms like "it". So what do you think it might be?
    – BillJ
    Jan 7, 2017 at 11:10
  • So, It might be Paper yes?
    – titansarus
    Jan 7, 2017 at 11:13
  • 2
    You must determine the most logical antecedent. In your example, "it" is singular, so we expect the antecedent to also be a singular noun phrase, which " a paper" certainly is. The only other possibility is the noun phrase "funny pieces for newspapers", but that is a plural NP, and in any case it makes no sense to say that he made funny pieces for newspapers a humorous weekly called The Rolling Stone.
    – BillJ
    Jan 7, 2017 at 11:31
  • 2
    The best way to think about the problem is by interrogating yourself. If you are confused over the word "it". Just ask yourself an interrogative sentence pertinent to the sentence which seems abstruse to infer. Ask yourself, "What did he make a humorous weekly?" The rest would follow itself.
    – user47144
    Jan 7, 2017 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


in the above text, it refsrs to "newspaper"

it says in theabove ........he began to write funny pieces for newspapers.

.....he wrote most of the pieces for it...

so "it" stands for " the rolling stone" which is the name of the newspaler.

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL. Answers on ELL should be written to the best of your ability with special attention paid to spelling, punctuation, and using complete sentences. You have numerous errors in your answer. Please edit it to correct them.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 7, 2017 at 15:23

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