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      • Native Language:
      • Polish
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      • Poland
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      • UK

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    #1

    Pronoun issue

    From the news:

    “You get Ebola from a person who has the virus, and only while he or she has symptoms.”

    It’s always the same:, “He or she”. There's always a clear distinction between the genders, but I must admit that I follow my own inclination to use they/their (their - in different sentences). I just do not like to be so specific, it doesn’t sound natural to me, and looks kind of weird, especially if you see it being repeated many times in one article. Is it in breach of grammar rules to use a plural pronoun when I refer to only one person?
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

    • Member Info
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      • England
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      • England

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    #2

    Re: Pronoun issue

    It's common and acceptable to use 'they', 'them' and 'their' as singular, gender-neutral pronouns.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #3

    Re: Pronoun issue

    For those who do not like "they" as a singular, the sentence can be recast in the plural: “You get Ebola from people who have the virus, and only while they have symptoms.” A simple fix.

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