Tag Archives: singular they

Replacing the generic ‘he’ with the singular ‘they’

By Mary Morel

The singular they has been used several hundred years by fine writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde

The generic ‘he’ is unacceptable in writing these days, but ‘he/she’ or ‘h/she’ looks ugly.

Although the singular they is acceptable it can sometimes look clumsy.

When an employee enters the data, they must remember to save it.

Other ways of working around this problem:

Use the plural

When employees enter the data, they must remember to save it.

Use the second person

When you enter the data, remember to save it.

The Canberra Society of Editors has written a good article on this topic.

Read my blog on the singular they.

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Learn more about writing styles with my online course, Styles for Business Writing (A$39).

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