This study investigated the claim that very young children avoid backwards coreference in their interpretation of sentences containing pronouns. Eighty-one children ranging in age from 3; 1 to 8;o and eight adults acted out four types of pronominal sentences. Cross-sectional data and individual response patterns reveal that children initially. prefer internal coreference even when such a response is disallowed for structural reasons. Avoidance of backwards coreference appears to be a late developing phenomenon characteristic of six-year-olds. Adult response patterns, which are manifested by some very young children, emerge as the dominant pattern by age seven.