What does that refer to in the passage? Doing(Trying) what worked for your friend, or guessing and chance, or another? I think that refers to the latter because it encompasses the other two Wrong ways before the the one extracted from the source.

Wrong way #3:Doing what worked for a friend Advice from a friend or family member is the most well-meaning of all, but it’s not the best way to match yourself with a new habit. While hot yoga may have changed your friend’s life, does that mean it’s the right practice for you? We all have friends who swear their new habit of getting up at 4:30 a.m. changed their lives and that we have to do it. I don’t doubt that getting up super early changes people’s lives, sometimes in good ways and sometimes not. But be cautious: You don’t know if this habit will actually make your life better, especially if it means you get less sleep. So yes, you can try what worked for your friend, but don’t beat yourself up if your friend’s answer doesn’t change you in the same way.
All of these approaches involve guessing and chance. And that’s not a good way to strive for change in your life.

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

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    Following approaches involving guessing and chance is not a good way to strive for change in your life. That way lies madness! :) Mar 14, 2023 at 11:49
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    It's a throwaway comment at the end of a passage. There's a degree of vagueness in the sentence, but it's obvious in general terms what sort of things the author is warning us against. So it's pointless trying to figure out precisely which combination of approaches or actions the author is warning us against. Just don't do what the author says not to do.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 14, 2023 at 14:47
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    "that" refers to guessing and chance. [lifesapicnic]
    – Lambie
    Mar 14, 2023 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


Your belief is correct. Generally, a pronoun's referent should be as close to it as possible. The previous sentence ("all of these approaches involve guessing and chance") is closer to the pronoun than wrong way #3, so that's where the reader is more likely to expect to find the referent. (In fact, it's rather rare in English for a pronoun's referent to be found more than one sentence earlier.)

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