WHEN I STEPPED OUT OF THE RESTAURANT, IT WAS RAINING.In the example above, the pronoun IT does not refer to anything mentioned in the sentence. It refers to the weather--the condition or the situation in which the sentence is uttered--which is only implied in the meaning of the sentence. Some writers call this a dummy pronoun. Another example is the first word--it--of the second paragraph below.
Nature has that special power to calm the mind, soothe the frazzled nerves and rejuvenate a weary urbanite.
It is thus not surprising to hear of property developers incorporating in their designs patches of gardens and greenery that will provide its residents swatches of nature right at their own backyards.
Pronouns that do refer to nouns in a sentence are called referential pronouns, because they refer to something. Now read the sentence above once more.
Question: What does its refer to?
At first I thought a noun was missing, a noun that its was referring to, but if it refers to the plural property developers, then its should have been their.
I have nothing against long sentences. In fact, I like Nick Joaquin's one-sentence opening paragraph in May Day Eve. The problem is that it is easy to get lost writing long sentences and commit errors in the process. I was at the realtor office waiting for my turn to speak to my account officer, and I picked up that newspaper. Reading the second paragraph, I sensed something was wrong because I felt lost. Maybe it's just me; I don't know.