I want to write a research paper and I want to know how can I refer to a person using pronouns? For example I want to say:

If the player moves downwards, ... will be at the second square.

What should I use instead of ...? he/she or they or something else?

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, sumelic, NVZ, tchrist Aug 19 '17 at 19:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Hello, Helen. Inasmuch as this is a question suitable for ELU, it has been answered before (look up 'singular they'). But you're asking about an area laced with opinion. There are style guides dedicated to protocols various institutions require you to observe. That is where to resolve your specific question. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '17 at 16:44
  • It's typical (some would say traditional) to simply use male pronouns, such as "he" or "him". Interestingly, however, some academic fields (e.g. math) tend to use female pronouns in their papers. There is no "rule". Some uppity English scholars may balk at the use of "they" or "their" as a singular gender-neutral third person pronoun, but it's a well-understood convention and shouldn't create any confusion: > The player moves upward. Later on, they push the box. – Mahkoe Aug 20 '17 at 15:00

The player will be at the second square upon moving downwards.

Best to avoid the reference in the first place whenever you can, and use "one" whenever necessary.

  • 2
    Hello, Confused Soul. Probably what I'd do too, but this is hardly an answer worthy of a site aimed at linguists, and avoids OP's actual question. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '17 at 16:46
  • 2
    @EdwinAshworth It answers the question, though. – Lawrence Aug 19 '17 at 16:49
  • There we go.... – Confused Soul Aug 19 '17 at 16:49
  • 1
    @Lawrence Really? 'Which pronoun should I use for a singular third person in a scientific writing? ... I want to write a research paper and I want to know how can I refer to a person using pronouns? ' Correct procedure is to close-vote. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '17 at 16:51
  • 1
    It was an example. I changed it. It's better to consider the question rather than the example. – helen Aug 19 '17 at 17:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.