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Sentence Correction: Pronoun Questions - Ambiguity

Many doctors warn patients that if traditional methods for diagnosis and homeopathic pharmaceuticals are relied upon exclusively, they will not always be capable of effectively addressing their illness.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is stylistically flawed and repeats the original mistake. The pronoun they is ambiguous because it agrees with more than one noun. It is unclear to what they refers to - doctors, patients, the traditional methods or to the homeopathic pharmaceuticals.

[[snippet]]

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice corrects the original Pronoun Ambiguity error by adding the words these interventions, it creates a new grammatical Tense mistake, by using Past Simple (were) in the result part of the conditional.

We can identify the sentence as a Conditional 1 sentence by the use of Present in the condition (If... be). Accordingly, the result part of the conditional sentence should be in the Future or Present tense.

Well done!

In the original sentence, the pronoun they is ambiguous because it agrees with more than one noun. It is unclear to whom they refers - to doctors, patients, the traditional methods, or homeopathic pharmaceuticals. This answer choice solves the problem by adding interventions.

Also note that the use of the conditional 1 is perfectly fine in terms of structure. Remember:

Usage: future situations; the result is realistic or possible, or for present 'truths' e.g., If John drops the pen, it will land on the floor.

Structure: (a) If/Unless condition in present tense, result in future/present tense.

(b) Result in future/present tense if/unless condition in present tense.

Note: The tenses above (in orange color) can be simple, progressive, or perfect.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is illogical and stylistically flawed. In this sentence the singular pronoun this can only grammatically refer to a previous situation (since all the previous nouns in the sentence are plural nouns). However, it is not clear what situation is being referred to, nor is it logical to describe a situation as being capable of addressing illness. 

[[snippet]]

 

Incorrect.

This answer choice is stylistically flawed. The pronoun they is ambiguous because it agrees with more than one noun. It is unclear to what they refers to - doctors, patients, traditional methods, or homeopathic pharmaceuticals.

[[snippet]]
traditional methods for diagnosis and homeopathic pharmaceuticals are relied upon exclusively, they will not always be
homeopathic pharmaceuticals and traditional methods for diagnosis are relied upon exclusively, this will not always be
traditional methods for diagnosis and homeopathic pharmaceuticals are relied upon exclusively, these interventions are not always
homeopathic pharmaceuticals and traditional methods for diagnosis are relied upon exclusively, these interventions were not always
homeopathic pharmaceuticals and traditional methods for diagnosis are relied upon exclusively, not always are they