Questions about the use of “they”, “them”, “their”, “themself”, or “themselves” to refer to a singular animate antecedent of unspecified gender.

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155
votes
18answers
19k views

Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her questions until the end.
40
votes
7answers
59k views

Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Using both “one’s” and “their” to refer to the same entity

Consider this example: Sustainability management in large organisations is an important activity that helps to achieve one’s business goals while at the same time reducing their environmental ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

why is “their” the wrong usage in this sentence?

Why is their in the following sentence wrong? The modern American family differs in many significant ways from their nineteenth-century counterpart.
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct?

I know there are different opinions on this issue. My question: Is using "he" for a general, gender-neutral third person still in common use for formal writing? By common use I mean, can I expect my ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun?

There are some questions on gender-neutral pronouns both here and on Writers. User Christine Letts writes: In academia, there is currently a movement toward using the feminine pronoun at all ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it appropriate to refer to a person of unknown sex by “it”?

I would like to treat a user as a non-gender noun and refer to it with the gender-neutral pronoun, it. E.g., The user defines two variables, x and y. It then multiplies each variable by a prime ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Can “a person” be used as plural? [duplicate]

Is it acceptable to write: A person can develop their talent. or a person can develop their uniqueness? In this case the person is used as a general term, not a specific person.
7
votes
4answers
19k views

Should I use “his/her” or “its”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Gender neutral pronoun Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? I am writing software documentation. I have this issue: I am ...
7
votes
3answers
367 views

Whoever had the lice, they're dead now

This sentence is from South Park. There was a lice problem in the school and the children demand that their teacher Mrs. Garrison tell them who exactly had the lice. She says that it's not important ...
7
votes
8answers
454 views

Rewrite this grammatically troubling movie poster

On a Wiki-walk the other day, I stumbled across the movie poster for Devil. The tagline on the poster is: Five strangers trapped. One of them is not what they seem. The writer was obviously ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Gender neutral reflexive pronoun — equivalent to “himself” and “herself”

How would you refer to a gender neutral subject with a reflexive pronoun? It is unbelievable how a perpetrator will cast oneself in the role of victim. That does not seem right. Is there a ...
6
votes
4answers
716 views

What is the accepted stance on using “they” in a singular form?

Is it good English to say "They have just left", when talking about a single person (perhaps someone you don't know the gender of)? (I am a native English speaker, I'm looking for the view held by ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why haven't we used “it” instead of “he or she”?

There is a related discussion on this forum. My questions is different. I'm all for gender awareness, but why hasn't a properly defined pronoun "it" been used instead of "he/she" or "he or she", etc. ...
6
votes
2answers
322 views

Why are “he”, “she”, and “it” distinct in the singular, but all “they” in the plural?

Other languages have gender-specific third-person plural pronouns (e.g., ellos and ellas in Spanish). English does not, despite the masculine/feminine/neuter distinction being obligatory in the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

She/he to refer a user [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun? Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular ...
6
votes
4answers
238 views

“His head” or “their head”?

I was disappointed to see a favorite storybook from my childhood has been edited. (Harry, the Dirty Dog; ISBN-13: 978-0064430098) I distinctly remember the text written as follows: ...but ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to avoid sexist language?

I have observed that I use a lot of sexist terms; it comes naturally to me! I have resolved to be "perfectly" non-sexist from now onwards. I would like to know how to avoid sexist language. Yes, ...
5
votes
3answers
468 views

Why isn’t singular ‘they’ used with 3Sg verb forms?

There are many (duplicate) questions about the acceptance, popularity and history of singular they (and their, them and themself) around here, it even got a tag of its own. If I didn’t miss anything, ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the most popular gender-neutral pronouns that aren't the same as other contemporary pronouns?

There have been attempts to use other contemporary English pronouns to stand-in as a true gender-neutral pronoun, given that English is lacking a commonly-accepted one for adult humans (non-humans and ...
4
votes
5answers
746 views

Using “she” with gender-neutral nouns

The song “Frozen” from Madonna’s Ray of Light (1998) contains the lyrics: Love is a bird, she needs to fly, Let all the hurt inside of you die. Does she refer to bird or love? And why is it ...
4
votes
1answer
23k views

'Him or herself' v. 'himself or herself'?

I was reading this article on the New York Times. This sentence caused me some confusion: But what I’m teaching are topics such as 5th-century Indian theories of logical inference, or the ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a proper gender-neutral form of himself or herself [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Gender neutral reflexive pronoun — equivalent ...
3
votes
2answers
465 views

Is the formation “[s]he” overly distracting?

Does the use of "[s]he" as a gender-neutral pronoun prompt eye-rolling in the reader or is it generally accepted? I know it cannot be pronounced, but it seems to me a helpful contraction in written ...
3
votes
1answer
624 views

What's the right possessive pronoun for “nobody”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? None as plural indefinite pronoun Should ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Can “his/her” be replaced by “his”?

Yesterday, I asked this question on Web Apps: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to the account? Actually, I wanted to ask it this way: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Need to clarify use of “its” and “their”

I am having a debate at work regarding the correct choice: No investor has ever lost its capital. or No investor has ever lost their capital. It seems to sound awkward to say "its capital" ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the singular “they” acceptable in formal writing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? I am linking to this post for reference. ...
2
votes
3answers
839 views

Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? [closed]

I know this sounds weird but I've been noticing a lot of texts on the Internet like this one: "Any citizen is concerned with her well-being ...". The word in question is "her". To me it seems like in ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

User: She, He, She or He, or They? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender neutral, singular pronoun (his vs. her vs. their)? I would like to know if when I'm writing about a "user" (in the broad sense), what do I ...
2
votes
2answers
897 views

Speaking about someone of unknown gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun For example, user clicked the button. I don't know if the user is male or female, what gender should I use? Now I read a book, where the user is ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Is the sentence “ask any doctor — they'll all tell you that alcohol is a poison” grammatically correct? [duplicate]

I am not a native speaker and I find the following sentence pretty confusing. Ask any doctor — they'll all tell you that alcohol is a poison. Here the speaker is referring to any doctor. Why is ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

Use of singular they on articulated sentences

I've understood how to use singular they on a single sentence, but the problem comes with articulated sentences like this one: If a person lies to you this way, they are probably thieves. My ...
2
votes
1answer
6k views

Anyone: (“they” or “he/she”) why is it sometimes plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? Plural versus singular: Anyone can learn to dance if they want to. Anyone can ...
2
votes
3answers
428 views

Use of they as singular [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? I, and many people I have heard, occasionally use 'they' and 'their' in the singular when ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Which pronoun should I use when writing about a generic activity in a thesis?

I'm writing my Bachelor's thesis where I describe students' activities in a dormitory. A student produces with a valid ID or passport here and hands in an ID card photo. In case he/she has a ...
2
votes
1answer
899 views

Using 'they' for person of unknown sex [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun. In everyday use, I often use the pronoun "they" to refer to a unknown person if I do not know their sex. As in: Bob: Who was it that emailed ...
1
vote
2answers
521 views

Which pronoun should be used with “anyone”? “They” or “you”?

Sample sentence: If anyone has the files, could (they or you) please upload them to a file-hosting website? Context: I am writing an email to a group of people requesting that if anyone has the files ...
1
vote
1answer
588 views

Third person equivalent of “yours” and “mine” [closed]

What is the third person equivalent of yours or mine? For example, It's not your book; you should take yours. It's not my book; I should take mine. It's not his book; he should take X.
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Addressing someone with no specified gender [duplicate]

How do you address someone whose gender is not specified, when you are writing something? Take this as an example: The teacher said we should go; ____ said we are good pupils. Would you insert ...
1
vote
0answers
33 views

Incorporating indirect third person pronouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? I am sure this has been asked before, I ...
1
vote
0answers
170 views

How to take the gender of an anonymous person into consideration? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun Very often, I find myself writing about a user, an anonymous person whose gender I don't know. Right after mentioning this abstract user, I need ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Generic way for writing about person without knowing his/her gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there generic way to write something ...
0
votes
2answers
131 views

Which pronoun to to replace single antecedent?

This is my all-time question. This time, I was writing specifications of my application and came up with this question. Which one of the following is more commonly used than the others? Note that I'm ...
0
votes
2answers
190 views

Why are “player”, “researcher” and “designer” referred to by a feminine gender specific pronoun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Reason for the current trend to use "she" as the gender-neutral pronoun? In a lot of academic literature that I'm reading ...
0
votes
1answer
557 views

Genderless pronoun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? I remember reading that "their" is third ...
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Gender question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Speaking about someone of unknown gender… Gender neutral pronoun I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“These stuff” vs. “this stuff” [closed]

I wrote “I know all these stuff; I don’t have to go over them again” in my writing-exam paper and the teacher corrected it to read, “I know all this stuff; I don’t have to go over it again.” The ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Singular they: Is it proper? [duplicate]

In one of my answers here, I used the singular they: When someone orders a rouge, they mean red wine which in French translates to le vin rouge. My question is, is it right for me to use they? ...
0
votes
0answers
47 views

Correct pronoun: 'his' or 'their'? [duplicate]

I would like to know whether his or their is the correct pronoun to be used in the following sentence: Neither she nor he has finished ....... work. In my opinion it should be their but some ...