What’s the deal with exophoric pronoun references?

I have been reading about errors with exophoric pronoun references (the paper was mostly aimed at preparing one for a certain standardized test), and found the author saying “In the context of this test, exophoric pronouns are always incorrect.” So I have two questions:

1) Just to make sure that I understand exophoric pronoun references correctly, I am wondering if something like

John went outside in the middle of the day. He found the weather to be calming and relaxing.

would be incorrect within the context of the standardized test? It looks very natural to me, but I think that’s because in my native tongue such a reference is acceptable (“he” is exophoric here, am I right?)

2) How unwelcome are the exophoric references in general? Is it just this test being picky, or should I refrain from using them elsewhere?


In your example, the pronoun “he” that begins the second sentence is not exophoric. It is endophoric, because its referent is manifest in the text.

“In discourse in general, the third person pronouns may be either endophoric, referring to a noun phrase within the text, . . . or exophoric, referring to someone or something manifest to the participants from the situation or from their mutual knowledge (‘Here he is,’ for example, on seeing someone who both sender and receiver are expecting). . . . citation.

What your test instructions admonish you to do is to forego exophoric pronouns that may seem obvious to you but are not to others.

“They say cells never die; they only divide.”

In the above sentence, they could be exophoric or endophoric. If it referred to scientists who did the research and wrote the paper (and therefore are referenced in it), it is endophoric. If it is a general statement about some unnamed scientists somewhere (or the elusive “they” who are responsible for all rumored activities), which the author assumes to be obvious to the reader, then it is exophoric. Just make sure you use pronouns that refer to real persons or things in your text.

Source : Link , Question Author : exophora , Answer Author : Robusto supports Ukraine

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