In my book, I have the following sentence that - for some reason - sounds incorrect. I feel like there is something wrong with the "he or she ... they." I don't think that I should change from "he or she" to "they" like that, but I can't think of any other way.
This is the sentence: "After breakfast, the three left the house to go to the stadium where all of the seventeen-year-olds would get their job (that he or she could eventually change if they wished to)."

  • "Job" should be pluralized here. – Aaron Apr 30 '18 at 3:15
  • 1
    Your problem is a widespread one. Until well into the last century, no one would have thought of it. In a case where a group includes both males and females, the masculine form was taken to include the feminine. “The male embraces the female” was the sexist mnemonic. It arises when people are being discussed partly individually and partly en masse. So words like ‘each’ ‘every’ ‘any’ are grammatical dynamite. As an observation from schools inspection, these words cannot be avoided, I should say that the use of plural pronouns has become a reluctantly acceptable last resort. – Tuffy Apr 30 '18 at 8:11

It's my opinion that if you feel the need to use parentheticals, the information probably isn't that useful to your writing and should be deleted, especially in a narrative form. That's the main reason the sentence doesn't read well to me.

"After breakfast, the three left the hours to go to the stadium where all of the seventeen-year-olds would get their jobs."

If you want to keep the parenthetical, change "he or she" to "they." Singular "they" is a perfectly acceptable pronoun, and I would suggest reading more about it on this answer.

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