Currently, it reads

"Apparently, this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them."

Respectfully, "them" is plural. (Effects on this English ÜberNerd=Hair shirt! Leaking viscera! Metal rasp on eyeball!)

Suggest simply: "Apparently, this user prefers an air of mystery."

Note: I had mine filled in, but deleted it temporarily in order to link to an example. Cheers!

marked as duplicate by tchrist Jul 31 at 3:08

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migrated from english.meta.stackexchange.com Jul 31 at 3:08

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  • 2
    This Q is not about gender neutrality as much as it is about redundancy in the sentence. How would the heavens fall if we don't insist on "about them?" Of course, "about them," and we know it. Unless we want to rub our gender-neutrality in. – Kris Jul 31 at 6:24
  • 2
    If it were, this would have rightly belonged on meta. Why would it be shunted out to us here? Think! – Kris Jul 31 at 6:26
  • 2
    I think the sentence would sound better as "Apparently, this user prefers to maintain an air of mystery." But I'm in the business of avoiding conflict, not of deciding who is right and who is wrong on questions such as "Is there a correct gender-neutral singular pronoun?" – Sven Yargs Jul 31 at 7:21
  • 5
    Respectfully, "them" is not plural here. It is quite clearly singular. What are you even on about? – RegDwigнt Jul 31 at 17:44
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    Also, I disagree with the commenters that it is redundant. What do you mean, they prefer just an air of mystery? You can't just leave it at that. An air of mystery about what? This site? Pianos? The Russian language? Me? You? Hercule Poirot? About absolutely everything in general? Or is it maybe just about themself, after all? The fixed phrase is "to have an air of X about smth or so". It is not "to have an air". What does that even mean. – RegDwigнt Jul 31 at 20:19

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