Reference

Reference is concerned with the ways in which different parts of the text refer to one another. When we are writing we often substitute different words and phrases when we talk about the same subject or topic again. This is how we create a sense of reference in the text. One of the more common ways of doing this is to substitute pronouns such as, 'she', 'he', 'it' for the person or thing previously mentioned by name. A simple example would be 'Pat is coming but she will be late'. The concept of reference is, in a sense, what makes written texts more interesting. Instead of saying the same thing again and adding to it, we use many different forms of reference to talk about and extend topics that have already been mentioned. The idea of reference also depends upon an implicit understanding of the writer that the reader has some knowledge of what the writer is saying. Writers rely upon all sorts of assumptions concerning the reader's knowledge about their writing. This enables writers to avoid repetition and leave out what may seem like irrelevant information. When you are checking your work you need to pay attention to the words which carry this sense of reference and hold the different parts of your writing together. You will need to think about the words that refer backwards and forwards within the text. Look out for words used as substitutes for other words. Do they make sense and actually refer to the person or thing that you the writer intend? It is very easy to end up writing so that words such as these can have an ambiguous meaning. When reference words are used to substitute for words or phrases that you have already used in the text, you need to check that they do in fact refer in the way that you, the writer, intended. The following list indicates words that are commonly used to make reference to other parts of the text:

its his her he she they their this that those these it

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