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This is a quote from one of my favorite movies:

"There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of those people is an extra. They're all the leads of their own stories." - Synecdoche, New Work (2008)

Why didn't he just write:

"There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of them is an extra..."

Instead?

I have the same problem when I'm writing fiction. When to repeat yourself and when to use a pronoun?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think it's pretty much by ear. You have to go with what sounds good. In this case, the writer thought "people" was important enough to repeat. I happen to agree with you that "them" would have been sufficient, but sometimes the repetition works.

For example:

government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln could have said

government of, by, and for the people

or

government of the people, by them, and for them

but the repetition makes it nearly poetry.

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