Can I use they in the following fashion when referring to oneself?

[Name] is a Web Developer at [company Name]. They holds a B.S. in Computer Science.

The emphasis here is when one tries to refer to themself without using she/he or her/him.

[Name] is a Web Developer at [company Name]. They hold a B.S. in Computer Science.

Turns it into an Illeism and sounds somewhat pompous.

Is there any way to use they in a singular form to refer to oneself? Something along the lines of

Name is a Web Developer at companyName. Xe holds a B.S. in Computer Science.

but that is more recognized.

  • 1
    If you don't know the sex of the person, I suppose using "they" is permissible, but the verb that follows doesn't add an -s, that's only for the third person singular, i.e. He/she holds but they hold But if the name is clearly male or female, what's wrong with using the appropriate pronoun? Can you clarify why you asking this question? (Not my upvote)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 23, 2016 at 12:35
  • But doesn't that come out as somewhat pompous when writing about oneself? Especially when its a bio. Is there any way to use they to refer to oneself in a gender neutral way without turning it into an Illeism? Jun 23, 2016 at 12:38
  • 3
    XYZ is a web developer and holds a B.S. in Computer Sciences.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 23, 2016 at 12:49
  • 1
    @Frisbetarian If it has to be in third person then he, she, or they are all acceptable (he or she depending on your sex). They is becoming more likely nowadays. It does not sound pompous because the text is already in third person. I am older so 'they' sounds slightly off to me because it's like you're hiding the sex. But more and more people are using 'they' even when sex should be known
    – Mitch
    Jun 23, 2016 at 12:51
  • 3
    Don't use they unless you are very uncomfortable referring to yourself as he or she. Singular they has been used in English for centuries, but it traditionally was never used when the antecedent was somebody's actual name. Jun 23, 2016 at 13:04

1 Answer 1


I'd say certainly not. We could always use the person instead.

It's not just about a gender neutral personal pronoun, but also about the definite-indefinite reference. When referring to someone indefinite, they would be fine, I suppose. As noted in some of the comments above, for a definite personal pronoun reference (i.e., a known/ specific person), they could be inappropriate.

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