f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 7, 2006

pronounced confusion

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 7:06 pm


Legal Undergrounder Evan Schaeffer focused on one of

my greatest language grievances yesterday, at his Illinois

Trial Practice Weblog: the excessive use of pronouns, 

the resulting confusion and lack of clarity. (“When Taking

Depositions or Making Oral Arguments, Beware Pronoun Soup,”

March 6, 2006).  Evan stresses how pronoun prolixity can

foil comprehension, confound judges, and prevent the effec-

tive use of depositions for impeaching witnesses.


We all love quoting our Contracts professors, and Evan

tells us that his would often turn red in the face and


“questionDudeS”   “They! Who’s they? He? Who’s he?

Quit using pronouns!”

The f/k/a Gang thinks pronouns used promiscuously are a

bane outside the legal context as well.  Perhaps your Editor

is simply working with too few pronoun-oriented synapses

this decade, but it seems to me that, more and more often,

I need to interrupt a conversation and ask for directions back

to the person being denoted by a pronoun.  Even if doing so

makes people say, “stop being such a lawyer,” I plan to

fight for fewer pronouns and clearer communication.


they say

he’s married to her –

we wonder to whom




fedupski   High school language-arts teacher Tom Painting

certainly knows how to keep his pronouns under control




the mourners stand

in a wintry mix





deep winter

I search the lease

for a loophole



after a long walk
I shake off the snow



“graveside” – frogpond (XXIX: 1, Winter 2006) 

“deep winter” –  loose change: HSA Members’ Anthology 2005

“solstice” – from his haiku chapbook piano practice 



infielderS   Who’s on 1st?  I bet Tom’s thoughts are turning to

baseball these days.  Here are some of his poems on the topic:




moths circle

the stadium lights

seventh inning stretch





all day rain

on the playing field

a stray dog





at bat neg




the toddler

runs to third base











bases loaded

a full moon clears

the right field fence





the foul ball lands  

in an empty seat

summer’s end



“moths circle” from A New Resonance 2: Emerging Voices

“the toddler” & “all day rain” – from the haiku chapbook piano practice  

“bases loaded” from the haiku chapbook piano practice      

“the foul balls lands”- Modern Haiku 35.2 ; spiess comp. hon. mention (2004)



See the f/k/a Baseball Haiku Page, if you’re thinking balls and strikes againinfielderF




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