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In serious cases of viral encephalitis, they can cause headaches, high fevers, lethargy, convulsions, delirium, coma, and even death.

I'd like to know whether the use of the verb "cause" in the sentence is grammatically correct. Thanks a million.

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    The pronoun "they" has no referent. I understand that you wanted "they" to mean "cases of encephalitis", but the structure of your sentence leaves "they" on its own. – CowperKettle Nov 2 '15 at 3:34
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    Yes, just shorten to "Serious cases of viral encephalitis can cause headaches, high fevers, lethargy, convulsions, delirium, coma, and even death." – MaxW Nov 2 '15 at 5:43
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The sentence is grammatically correct if the listener knows what the pronoun "they" refers to or stands for.

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Yes, as @Khan says, it is grammatically correct if it is known what they refers to.

Further elaborating on why it is correct, you need to know that can is a modal verb here indicating possibility. In your sentence, it says they can cause headaches, high fevers, lethargy, convulsions, delirium, coma, and even death. This list of adverse effects is a possibility - not an obligation or a conclusion.

More examples of modal verbs here.

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