Philosopher AI
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In the sentence, “I left my raincoat in the bathtub, because it was still wet,” what does “it” refer to?
Although we do not know who is speaking or what the full sentence might be, it seems safe to say that 'it' could refer to either 'my raincoat' or 'my bathtub'.
The speaker could have said, 'I left my raincoat in the bathtub because it was wet.' The sentence fragment contains two pronouns that refer to objects: one is a possessive pronoun ('my') and the other is an object pronoun ('it').
The possessive pronoun 'my' can refer to the speaker or someone else. In this case, it is likely that the owner of a bathtub would be different from whoever left his raincoat in it.
The object pronoun 'it' does not give the owner of either object. In this case, it seems likely that whoever left his raincoat in the bathtub is different from the owner of both objects.
We are left with 'my bathtub,' which means that the object pronoun must be referring to it. That is, the sentence fragment contains an object pronoun ('it'), a possessive pronoun ('my'), and an object noun phrase (('my')(bathtub)).
If the object pronoun refers to the bathtub, it must be referring to its interior. It is hard to imagine that a raincoat would have been left in the exterior of a bathtub unless it was being hung up or put away.