they vs their (singular) : Common Errors in English

they or their singular

Using the plural pronoun to refer to a single person of unspecifiedgender is an old and honorable pattern in English, not a newfangled bitof degeneracy or a politically correct plot to avoid sexism (though it often serves thelatter purpose). People who insist that “Everyone has brought hisown lunch” is the only correct form do not reflect the usage ofcenturies of fine writers. A good general rule is that only when thesingular noun does not specify an individual can it be replacedplausibly with a plural pronoun: “Everybody” is a goodexample. We know that “everybody” is singular because we say“everybody is here,“ not “everybody are here” yetwe tend to think of “everybody” as a group of individuals, sowe usually say “everybody brought their own grievances to thebargaining table.” “Anybody” is treated similarly. However, in manywritten sentences the use of singular “their” and“they” creates an irritating clash even when it passesunnoticed in speech. It is wise to shun this popular pattern in formalwriting. Often

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