Consider these sentences:

Sudama’s wife pleads with Sudama to meet Krishna.

One day, Sudama’s wife told Sudama, “I have heard a lot about your friend Krishna.

In both the sentences, can the second occurrence of "Sudama" be safely replaced by "him"?

  • 2
    Hmm, perhaps we would write "Susheela pleads with Sudama to meet Krishna" today. Replacing the (apparently) subordinate role with her actual name. Aug 3, 2022 at 18:28
  • @WeatherVane Thanks. +1 for your knowledge of Hindu mythology
    – Thomas Kurian
    Aug 3, 2022 at 18:36
  • 4
    On topic, I would replace the repetition of 'Sudama' with 'him' as it is obvious to whom the pronoun refers. Aug 3, 2022 at 18:41
  • The "possessive antecedent" is still frowned upon by a few grammarians. If you feel that one may be lurking, leave your sentences as they are or go with @WeatherVane 's Susheela version. Otherwise, use the pronouns and don't worry — it's clear what is meant. Aug 3, 2022 at 18:50
  • @TinfoilHat Thanks.
    – Thomas Kurian
    Aug 3, 2022 at 19:03

2 Answers 2


It depends on the context, since the antecedent of "him" may be ambiguous. If Sudama's wife were having a conversation with Mahmoud, "pleaded with him" would normally be interpreted to refer to Mahmoud, not Sudama.

But without context that could suggest some other antecedent, "him" would normally be assumed to refer to Sudama, so you could make that replacement safely.


Generally, a speaker/writer can use a pronoun if the listener/reader has been provided with enough information to know who the pronoun refers to.

My brother is sick. He won't be at work today.

Here, you can assume he stands for my brother because I just mentioned "my brother."

One day, Sudama’s wife told him, “I have heard a lot about your friend Krishna.

I'm not going to be able to know him refers to Sudama unless you told me in an earlier sentence.

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