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These changes have been made possible by use of the scientific method to solve such problems as the causes of diseases and its prevention.

Why writer used its instead of their in the sentence above?

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    Could you add the source?
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 23:44
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    The pronoun in the possessive “its” has an antecedent in the sentence. The antecedent is the word the pronoun refers to. The antecedent for “it’s is “scientific method” which is a compound noun and acts as a single noun. We may plug in the antecedent: These changes have been made possible by use of the scientific method to solve such problems as the causes of diseases and scientific method’s prevention (of diseases). Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:49

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Their is correct. The subject for this pronoun is "diseases". Verb-pronoun agreement can be a problem even for native speakers, and the writer made a mistake here.

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