Is it possible to replace he with another word for better understanding of the sentence? What word/words could it be to say it naturally? I think to repeat "his grandfather" isn't best choice.

He visits his grandfather but he [his grandfather] can’t visit him.

3 Answers 3


Ivan visits his grandfather but his grandfather can’t visit him.

Usual and idiomatic.

Ivan visits his grandfather but he, the grandfather, can’t visit him.

Those are two ways to do this.

Less used and more formal (as in a legal document)

He visits his grandfather but the latter can’t visit him.

  • No rule as such, it's used for highlighting quotes. If you want, you can delete the < sign.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 26, 2021 at 22:35

One can almost always write around a pronoun. There is no one way to do it, it depends on the particular sentence and the meaning which the writer wants to convey.

In most cases a pronoun has a referent or antecedent, the person or thing that the pronoun refers to. One can generally use the referent instead of the pronoun. Sometimes this makes a clearer sentence, as it does in the example in the question. Sometimes it makes a poor, wordy sentence,. Then some other way of avoiding the pronoun should be used if one wants to avoid it.


"he" is wrong because of the ambiguity induced. Indeed, "He visits his grandfather but his grandfather can’t visit him" is correct. This does not sound unnatural to a native English speaker. It is precise and unambiguous. Whenever there is the slightest ambiguity, or the chance of a misplaced modifier, ALWAYS opt for the longer, unambiguous form to avoid trouble.

  • First you say he is wrong; then you says its correct. Sort of confusing.
    – Lambie
    Jun 26, 2021 at 21:33

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