Pronoun ambiguities: the Pope’s boyfriend

The BBC News website recently reported the following:

[The Pope] had a private meeting with a gay former student of his and his boyfriend at the Vatican mission in Washington.

Grammatically this is ambiguous, given that the second his could refer back to the Pope. Maybe things really are changing in the Vatican!

One thought on “Pronoun ambiguities: the Pope’s boyfriend

  1. Indeed, although it’s obvious what’s meant. Perhaps in more formal contexts, parentheses might be an option. Could parentheses in the future be part of a grammar to avoid such ambiguities ?


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