I see people make the mistake all the time of using “they/their” in their writing when they really should be using “he/his” or “she/hers.”

Incorrect: A middle-school kid should always do their homework on time, even if they would rather spend all their time texting.

Correct: A middle-school kid should always do his homework on time, even if he would rather spend all his time texting.

The sentence above is talking about only one kid, therefore “they/their” cannot be used because these words are always plural. Many people, however, use them anyway because they don’t want to have to specify whether the person being talked about is male or female. Sorry but, like it or not, you do have to choose either “he/his” or “her/hers” in a sentence like this one.

If you’re dead set on not specifying gender in a sentence like this, you must revise the sentence. Consider the following possibilities:

  • Middle-school kids should always do their homework on time, even if they would rather spend all their time texting.
  • A middle-school kid should always do homework on time, even if spending time texting is preferable to doing homework.
  • A middle-school kid should always do homework on time, even if that middle-schooler would rather spend every minute texting.

To find more tips, click on “grammar” under Bread Crumbs in the right-hand column.

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One thought on “They/Their Are Plural, Always

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