Plural Pronouns for Singular Antecedents?
The AP Stylebook’s June 2019 update included a section on using plural pronouns for singular antecedents. Here are some excerpts:
In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority.
A singular they might be used when an anonymous source’s gender must be shielded and other wording is overly awkward. Example: The person feared for their own safety and spoke on condition of anonymity.
When they is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb: Taylor said they need a new car. Be sure it’s clear from the context that only one person is involved.
Examples of rewording:
All the class members raised their hands (instead of everyone raised their hands).
The foundation gave grants to anyone who lost a job this year (instead of anyone who lost their job).
Police said the victim would be identified after relatives are notified (instead of after their relatives are notified or after his or her relatives are notified).
Lottery officials said the winner could claim the prize Tuesday (instead of their or his or her prize).
Dana Adams was not available for comment (instead of Dana Adams did not make themselves available for comment).
Here are links to some interesting articles posted on Publishers Weekly this week:
One Year After UNITE, CBA is Dead
Edward Roush, who acquired the Association for Christian Retailers (CBA) last year, addressed controversy surrounding the organization and said its concept will be “reborn.” more
Christian Publishers Oppose ‘Bible Tax’
HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) argued at a hearing last week that Bibles and books should be excluded from a proposed 25% tariff on products imported from China. more
Disability Through God’s Eyes: Four New Books
Religion publishers are focusing on the experiences of people with physical, intellectual, social, and psychological impairments in four new books aimed at strengthening understanding and empathy in both able-bodied and disabled readers. more
Nancy Ellen Hird
June 30, 2019 @ 4:23 pm
Thank you, Kathy, for a singularly well done post.