Pronouns are an integral part of the english language. However, they can also cause confusion and problems within communication, especially in the modern era, as some people choose to use unconventional pronouns to describe themselves. I have no problem with this, except that it has the potential to make communication confusing when one is talking about or describing that person. Take for example, the following interaction:

Person 1: Where is [name] going to school next year?

Person 2: They is going to the University of Colorado.

If the subject of Person 2's sentence used conventional pronouns, (either he/him or she/her) the obvious construction would be "He is going..." or "She is going...". Conversely, with 'they,' however, it appears that 'is' does not fit here despite the subject of the sentence being a single entity. Would are ("They are going...") be a more appropriate choice in this instance? And are there any rules for the tenses following ambiguous pronouns which sound plural but denote a singular person?

  • 5
    Gender-neutral "they" takes plural agreement.
    – BillJ
    Feb 20, 2023 at 14:43
  • @BillJ Thank you
    – Joe Kerr
    Feb 20, 2023 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


"They" takes the plural in all cases. It does not matter if it's used to refer to multiple people or not. Consider:

"I was talking to my doctor and they want me to go back in a month."

  • Changed the example
    – dubious
    Feb 21, 2023 at 8:12

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