3

When you use propositional phrases or conjunctive phrases, do you use a pronoun that matches your subject prior to mentioning the actual subject?

I don't think you'll need her number, but Jennifer's number is x.

I don't think you'll need Jennifer's number, but her number is x.

 

Although she is late, I think Jennifer will be here any minute now.

Although Jennifer is late, I think she will be here any minute now.

5

In your first two examples, the repetition of the word number makes me think you are talking about two different people.

As for Susan, I don't think you'll need her number. But Jennifer's number is 555-5555.

I think the meaning you want would be conveyed better without mentioning the subject twice:

I don't think you'll need her number, but it's 555-5555.

or

I don't think you'll need Jennifer's number, but it's 555-5555.

Your second two examples are both standard, and have identical meanings.

  • 1
    Although I agree that your reading is possible (or even likely), I think the first two sentences are ambiguous. In either case, if you stress need and not her or Jennifer, the contrastive reading disappears. Still, I think this is a useful answer, so I'm going to vote it up. – snailboat Jun 19 '13 at 6:57
  • @snailboat, you're right. I think OP's use of bold to emphasize the words s/he was asking about made me read it that way. – The Photon Jun 21 '13 at 2:18
3

Yes, you can use a pronoun prior to mentioning its subject (and you should always use a pronoun matching the subject).

Some other examples:

If you need it, Jennifer's number is 555-1212.

If you need to call her, Jennifer is available after 9 am.

An hour after I started looking for him, I found John in the mall cafe.

  • I think you misunderstood the OP's question. Jess isn't asking whether to use a pronoun matching the subject, but whether the pronoun should be mentioned before the subject. – Stephan Jun 19 '13 at 13:43
  • @Stephan, hopefully the edit makes the answer more directly applicable. – Hellion Jun 19 '13 at 14:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.