I was wondering what the general take is on concord with they as a gender-neutral 3rd person singular pronoun. I assume there are no hard and fast rules here yet, seeing that this is a fairly new phenomenon – or am I mistaken here? If there is, indeed, an established rule, please let me know! But if there isn't, what is your view? Do you think grammatical meaning should determine concord (example [1]), or do you think semantic meaning should determine (example [2])?

[1] If someone wants this, they have to let us know

[2] If someone wants this, they has to let us know

I can't help it – [2] makes me cringe... even though I realise that there are equally good arguments for either.

What's your view? :)

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    It’s not uncommon for singular they to align with singular forms (themself is not unheard of, and something like “someone who’d give their life for…” instead of “their lives” is completely standard), but not with actual verbal agreement. They is/has/does/… is, in my experience, completely nonexistent, except of course in dialects where the 3s form is generalised so you’d also say I is/… and you is/…. Jun 9, 2019 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


I might be wrong, but I've never heard "they has" in that context. Singular they is not a new phenomenon: see Wikipedia and Merriam Webster (which has quotes from William Shakespeare and Jane Austen). All the examples I can find with singular they have a plural verb: they have, they are, they do.

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