Is "its inhabitants" redundent? Can I use "its" twice in 2 sentences?

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Nehemiah wept when he learned that the walls of Jerusalem and its gates had not been restored.

 

 

He mourned for days, praying and fasting for the defenseless city and its inhabitants.  

 

Or:

He mourned for days, praying and fasting for the defenseless city.   

asked Jan 14 '13 at 05:41 Susan New member

2 answers


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I don't think it is redundant to refer to the defenseless city and its inhabitantsThe defenseless city refers to the city as a physical entity, buildings, etc., and its inhabitants of course refers to the people living there.  Also, there is no problem using its in two consecutive sentences. 

 

However, your first sentence could be reworded to eliminate the need for its

 

Nehemiah wept when he learned that the walls and gates of Jerusalem had not been restored.

 

He mourned for days, praying and fasting for the defenseless city and its inhabitants. 

 

But, I have just done a little research online and here is the relevant biblical passage:

 

Nehemiah 1

1The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital, 2one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3They replied, ‘The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.’

4When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven.

 


That being the case, and I am certainly no expert on the biblical/historical narrative, it seems more natural to say that Nehemiah was distraught about the destruction or breach of the walls and gates, not the fact that they had not been restored.  I haven't been able to find out how the walls and gates came into such a state of disrepair, nor how recent it was compared to Nehemiah's learning of it, so I will leave that issue with you to research and ponder.

 

I hope this helps.

link answered Jan 14 '13 at 06:22 Shawn Mooney Expert

Good research! Thanks for the good answer! Susan

SusanJan 14 '13 at 15:25

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There are always numerous ways to reword a sentence, Susan.  You could say "the defenseless citizens of the city."

link comment answered Jan 14 '13 at 15:45 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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