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  1. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Referring to an indefinate person

    Please check this sentence:
    The visitor needs to login, then he/she/they need to fill in the form ...

    When speaking generally about the a person who could be a male or a female, a singular or plural, What is the best pronoun to use?

    I noticed some use "she" when they are not sure about the nature of the person they talk about. But which is the most correct form grammatically and socially.

    Thanks :)

  2. banderas's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Use "They".


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    #3

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    The usual way is to say "they" to avoid the lengthy "he/she". However, you can avoid it by saying: The visitor needs to login, and then to fill in the form.

  3. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Thanks banderas.
    Thanks Anglika.

    And using they won't contradict with the fact that the verb and the subject in the first sentence are singular?
    That was just an example, there are example where is it difficult to go through without the use of a pronoun.

    Thanks :)

  4. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    Thanks banderas.
    Thanks Anglika.

    And using they won't contradict with the fact that the verb and the subject in the first sentence are singular?
    That was just an example, there are example where is it difficult to go through without the use of a pronoun.

    Thanks :)
    Hi, Ducklet Cat!

    I think the sentence should be changed to 'The visitors need to login, then they need to fill in the form ...' to avoid the problem you suggest.
    Otherwise Anglika's suggestion, which has no pronouns, is the best option, I reckon.

    I'm not a native speaker of English, so please forgive me if I'm wrong.

  5. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Thanks tzfujimino :)

    Ok, maybe I did not pick the right example.
    There are situations where you want/need to start with a singular thing.
    SO what would be the preferable thing to do when you face the pronoun dilemma? :P

  6. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    Thanks tzfujimino :)

    Ok, maybe I did not pick the right example.
    There are situations where you want/need to start with a singular thing.
    SO what would be the preferable thing to do when you face the pronoun dilemma? :P
    Hi, again!

    Well...in that case, I think it might be safer to use 'he/she' or 'his/her'.
    I'm not really sure whether the 'singular noun - plural pronoun' combination is acceptable or not.

    Please wait for native speakers to respond to your query.
    I'm sorry I can't be of much help to you...

  7. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Unfortunately there is not a word in English for this in the context that you are presenting, it has to be "they".


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #9

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducklet Cat View Post
    Thanks tzfujimino :)

    Ok, maybe I did not pick the right example.
    There are situations where you want/need to start with a singular thing.
    SO what would be the preferable thing to do when you face the pronoun dilemma? :P
    It is a constant dilemma, even for native speakers!

    If you cannot avoid using a pronoun, then either you must go with "his/hers" or "their".

  8. Ducklet Cat's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Referring to an indefinate person

    Thanks everyone ;)
    I'd stick to he/she, but I do want to make sure about "they", will it be OK to use it with the rest of the sentence singular? I don't want to use something and make people laugh at my English.

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