| #3 (permalink) Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:59 am Re: i already did vs. I have already
|1. If you are going to give a short answer that echoes the question, you need use the same auxiliary/modal verb as in the question.
Have you ordered yet? - "have" is an auxiliary verb, so the answer should be "yes, I have". You can also echo more words, such as "yes, I already have", or even "yes, I have already ordered".
Did he know her? - "did" is an auxiliary verb, so the answer should be "yes, he did".
Will they be able to win? - "yes, they will".
Whether you echo only subject and auxiliary verb or the whole sentence does not make much of a difference. But if the sentence were long, repeating the whole sentence would sound a bit clumsy, so do that only with short sentences.
2. You can use "them" for objects or abstract things, just as for persons, as long as it is immediately clear which ones you are referring to, or if they have been mentioned already not long before. See what I did there?
Usually a pronoun should refer to a noun or pronoun that has been mentioned shortly before, but sometimes it can refer to a thing/person that is implicitly present in the consciousness of the reader, such as Caesar when you are reading a biography of Caesar.
Be aware that for any pronoun there should be absolutely no possible doubt about what it refers to. Many, many writers, native speakers included, in English and in any other language, often make mistakes with unclear references. If anyone might ask "who are 'they', and what is 'it' referring to here?", the pronoun is not clear enough. But you probably already knew that.
I'm a Communicator ;-)
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