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Option A:

“Great! Your new account request has been sent to ABC company.

You'll be emailed a notification as soon as they've got your account ready for you to use.”

Option B:

“Great! Your new account request has been sent to ABC company.

You'll be emailed a notification as soon as ABC company has your account ready for you to use.”

Question:

Can I use “they’ve” or do I need to mention the name of the company so that paragraph 2 is “self-supporting”?

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  • There is a distinct third party (you, 'they', and the communicator) demanded by (A) but only suggested by (B). But both seem to mix informal and formal registers awkwardly. May 25 at 12:04

2 Answers 2

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I'll answer what I think are the underlying questions, clarified by 194 and Joachim in comments.

Antecedent Identification

The antecedent is the noun the pronoun represents in a sentence. When you see a pronoun, you should be able to understand its meaning by looking at the rest of the sentence. Look at the following sentence:

The Smiths picked apples for hours, and they put them in large boxes.

The antecedent for “they” is “the Smiths.” The antecedent for “them” is “apples.”

... ... ... ... ...

As sentences become more complicated or whole paragraphs are involved, identifying pronoun antecedents might also become more complicated [(and remember that an antecedent is not obligatorily placed before the pronoun)]. As long as pronouns and antecedents are used properly, however, you should be able to find the antecedent for each pronoun.

[Saylor.org]

And

Don’t allow too much space between the pronoun and its antecedent. If you refer to Joe in the first sentence of a paragraph, and use him to refer to Joe throughout that paragraph, and Joe is the only male in that paragraph, there should be no problem. But if there are two males in the paragraph, or if you’ve written several sentences since you used Joe’s name, find a good place to use the noun again.

[Kathy Ide]

These guidelines are sound, echoing the Gricean maxim demanding clarity and ease of parsing (manner). Any prescriptive 'rule' barring antecedent-pronoun distribution across consecutive short paragraphs would be a broad-brush attempt to preserve clarity, and unnecessarily draconian in the simple extract in the question.

....................................................

How do you refer to a company in third person: it or they?

In English, both it and they are used to refer to a company....

The choice depends on many things: context, type of written communication, house style, and more.

The common view is that in American English, company is referred to as it, while in British English, company is referred to as it or they, but they is more common.

In reality, many of those who write in American English use they to refer to a company. And many people who use British English call a company it. So there’s no drastic difference in usage on the two sides of the Atlantic....

Whether you use it or they to refer to a company is a matter of style. If you choose it, you can’t go wrong. But they sounds more natural in many cases.

[Christina N; Language Editing]

If, throughout the [article], you refer to the company as a disembodied corporate entity (more distant and impersonal), it/its ... is probably preferred in your example.

Conversely, if you consistently refer to the individuals that comprise the company, or its employees, or management team as knowable, discrete, personable entities, they/their seems more natural to me.

Either would be considered grammatically correct.

[T R Gritzmann; Reddit]

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Personal pronouns are used to replace nouns to avoid repetition.

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  • 1
    And are allowed across separate paragraphs? May 25 at 11:21
  • 1
    And is "they" the right pronoun for a company?
    – Joachim
    May 25 at 11:27
  • 1
    There is no reason to regard the second sentence as a 'new paragraph' just because you have chosen to write it on a new line. It follows on logically from the first sentence. May 25 at 12:17
  • @KateBunting Thanks I kind of see what your saying. However, I thought by starting on a new line with a one line gap above makes it a new paragraph by definition. And as such grammatical rules associated with paragraphs apply? Unless I’m not aware of the definition of a paragraph? May 25 at 21:48
  • In a long text, the writer usually starts a new paragraph to mark the transition to a new idea or incident. Your second sentence is simply the next stage in a series of instructions for setting up a new account, which you happen to be writing on separate lines for clarity. Personally, I would find it awkward to repeat the company's name every time it is mentioned. I would suggest using 'the company' rather than 'they'. May 26 at 8:27

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