The tree has a big branch. It is...

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HocusPocus93

Senior Member
Italiano- Italia
Hello everyone,
I have a question about the use of "it". In a sentence like "The tree has a big branch" followed by "it is full of leaves" what does "it" refer to?Tree or branch? I can't undertsand if "it" replaces the same subject of the previous sentence or merely the last noun mentioned.
Thanks in advance
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    There is no rule, so this "it" is ambiguous. A careful writer will alter the sentence to remove the ambiguity:
    The tree has a big branch which is full of leaves (which=branch)
    The tree has a big branch, and it is full of leaves (it=tree)
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    There is no rule, so this "it" is ambiguous. A careful writer will alter the sentence to remove the ambiguity:
    The tree has a big branch which is full of leaves (which=branch)
    The tree has a big branch, and it is full of leaves (it=tree)
    To me, "it" in your last sentences also refers to the branch.

    "The tree, which has a big branch, is full of leaves."
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    For me, "The tree has a big branch, and it is full of leaves" is ambiguous. "It" could still refer to either the tree or the branch.

    Compare with:
    - The package is in the truck, and it will be delivered today.
    -
    The package is in the truck, and it has broken down.

    I agree with RM1's rewriting.

    Ws
    :)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    The tree has a big branch (which is) full of leaves. [The branch is full of leaves.]
    The tree has a big branch. It is full of leaves. [Ambiguous]
    The tree has a big branch, and it is full of leaves. [Ambiguous]
    The tree has a big branch and is full of leaves. [The tree is full of leaves.]
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Okay, to me the "and" linked two properties of the tree, but I guess I'm in a minority, and in any case I completely agree that RM1(SS)'s suggestion or Forero's are clearer (better to avoid "it" altogether).
     
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