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Bewildering Stories

The Critics’ Corner

Who’s Doing What?

by Bill Bowler and Don Webb

The following excerpt fits our motto “You know what you mean, I know only what you say.”

Many of our contributors use personal pronouns as proper names and might benefit from giving them numbers, such as “he1,” “he2,” etc.

A recent submission used the pronoun “he” with four different antecedents in the same sentence. That record still stands, but others have taken a run at it.

Identify the antecedents of the pronouns “he,” “his,” and “him” in the following excerpt. There are 23 occurrences. Will any reader event attempt to do it? We’d be surprised.

Finding Professor Addles was not going to be easy. At least Dr. Riegert was confident he had a better idea than the authorities or any of the doctor’s few distant relatives and friends as to where he might find him.

He could still remember the exact words of the doctor: “If I ever disappear and you want to get in touch with me, you’ll find me on one of the small islands near Pacaoa Island...”

When he uttered these words, they were both under investigation for illegal experimentation. Dr. Riegert didn’t take him too seriously, as the doctor, although brilliant, was eccentric at times and often made mind-boggling assertions.

But when he didn’t show up at court that day, Dr. Riegert began wondering if he had gone to some island...

Because of the professional status of Professor Addles, the media had a field day over his disappearance. It also didn’t take long for the police to find that the Seaway was also missing. It was, however, evident after two weeks of investigation that no one, except maybe Dr. Riegert, knew which way he was heading after he took off. Dr. Riegert had been questioned by the authorities about where he might have gone, but he pretended he had no idea.

Dr. Riegert had wondered why he hadn’t heard something from his partner, but now he figured that he knew: Henry was not a sociable person. The two of them got along well, but it was more of a working partner relationship. He was now probably enjoying working alone and didn’t need his partner’s assistance anymore.

* * *

He and his dog had returned to the beach after their meal and getting their thirst quenched from the fast-running water from the stream trickling towards the ocean...

We gently remind our contributors that we are Bewildering Stories, not Indecipherable Stories.

Copyright © 2008 by Bewildering Stories

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