Be sure that your readers can tell what every pronoun refers to. Dont let them be confused about the connection between a pronoun and the person, place, thing, or idea that it represents.
The word that a pronoun refers to is called the pronouns antecedent.
Often, confusion results when a pronoun has no clear antecedent, as in the following example:
We looked at every car dealership in town, but couldnt find one that we could afford.
The reader of that sentence is likely to wonder whether the writer was looking for one car or one dealership to buy. The best way to revise the sentence is to replace the unclear pronoun with a clear noun:
We looked at every car dealership in town, but couldnt find a car that we could afford.
Confusion also often results from using a pronoun to refer to a possessive word, as in the following example:
In a survey of residents attitudes, they didnt seem to favor the mayors proposal.
The writer wants they to refer to residents, but in the sentence as written they can only refer to attitudes. Again, the best way to revise the sentence is to replace the unclear pronoun with a clear noun:
In a survey, residents didnt seem to favor the mayors proposal.
Which sentence is clearer?