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Sentence Correction: Pronoun Questions - The word/term

The word vixen is a female fox.

This answer choice is illogical. The subject of the sentence is The word vixen, not vixen. Vixen (not the word vixen) is a female fox. The word vixen refers to/defines/describes a female fox.

What helps us identify this mistake is the following Stop Sign:

The word/term...   (it) is...

Whenever we see this Stop Sign, we know that the topic that the question checks is pronouns, specifically using refers to/defines/describes after the word/term (and not is).

While this answer choice corrects the original mistake, it is grammatically incorrect. The singular subject (The word vixen) does not agree with the plural verb (refer to).

This answer choice repeats the original mistake. The subject of the sentence is The words vixen, not vixen. Vixen (not the word vixen) is a female fox. The word vixen refers to/defines/describes a female fox.

What helps us identify this mistake is the following Stop Sign:

The word/term...   (it) is...

Whenever we see this Stop Sign, we know that the topic that the question checks is pronouns, specifically using refers to/defines/describes after the word/term (and not is).

In addition, changing word to words creates a grammatical mistake. The now plural subject The words vixen does not agree with the singular verb is.  

Logically and grammatically this answer choice is fine, but stylistically it is redundant. It's the second best answer choice.

Correct!

word vixen is

word vixen refer to

words vixen is

word vixen refers to

word vixen is in reference to