Do English speakers say something like "He pushed him back"?

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Do English speakers say something like "he pushed him back", even if they know who this "he" and who that "him" is, referring to two different people with the same pronoun? Or would they say something like "he pushed that guy" or "that guy pushed him"?

Vun-Hugh Vaw

Posted 2016-02-24T01:52:58.577

Reputation: 135

In what context? If Sam pushed John, and then John pushed Sam then I might well say he pushed him back. He and him lack antecedents in the sentence, but with context the subjects may be inferred. – Elliott Frisch – 2016-02-24T02:05:47.147

Any context. What I'm asking is that if anyone would refer to two different people with just one pronoun. The context doesn't really matter here. You can think of anything. – Vun-Hugh Vaw – 2016-02-24T02:08:52.183

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Then the answer is yes.

– Elliott Frisch – 2016-02-24T02:19:53.530

1Yes, in the right context, where the antecedents of the two pronouns were reasonably obvious, that sentence might easily be said. One does need to use care with such constructions, though, especially when editing the text you wrote yesterday, as it's easy to forget how much it all depends on context. – None – 2016-02-24T02:37:58.647

1So true. If Jim saw John and he told him that he had to leave town, we're in trouble. – None – 2016-02-24T02:50:53.153

Lol. Maybe it's just because I'm not native, cause I feel really awkward to string a bunch of different he's and hims in one sentence. – Vun-Hugh Vaw – 2016-02-24T13:21:27.067

Then you should hem and haw about it. – None – 2016-02-24T19:36:29.600

Answers

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Yes. It's common when someone's telling a story out loud, for example. Context, cadence, and emphasis can all help clarify the meaning. But it's common enough in writing too, when the meaning is clear from context, as in this New York Times article:

Mr. Shultz said the President was ''astonished'' when he told him about the plan in December.

Jesse McGrew

Posted 2016-02-24T01:52:58.577

Reputation: 206