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Nicole R
Learning Article : Singular 'They': What Is It And Should You Use It?

Discuss the Article : Singular 'They': What Is It And Should You Use It?

Singular 'They': What Is It And Should You Use It?

Having trouble understanding the use of 'they' as a singular pronoun? When is it correct? Why do native speakers use it? Check out this article to find out more!

Nov 30, 2014 12:00 AM
Comments · 64

That's an outstanding information, thanks for sharing it. 

Many days ago my friend updated his FB status by "If someone hates you for no reason. Well, give them one, a good one" I thought It was typing mistake, but now I recognize that it wasn't.  :)

December 2, 2014

What a fantastic article, Nikki.


I use the singular "they/them" all the time, in fact it is my preferred way ofspeaking and writing in almost all cases, even when the gender of the person being talked about is assumed. Why? Because a lot of non-binary people are still in the closet, and using the singular they avoids discomfort irrespective of their outward appearance. 


For formal English, of course, there is also "one" which is still used to some extent in the UK or some of the former colonies like India, Singapore etc.

December 9, 2014

Hi Tatiana!

If you choose to use the singular 'they', then it is just fine to leave a friend as singular. I know it seems very strange to use them (which is normally a plural pronoun) to describe a single, unspecified person, but that is why it is called singular 'they'! You can use 'they' as a singular pronoun when referring to a person in general, an unknown, or an unspecified person.


It's just a way that English speakers have developed in order to not have to use he or she, which are genered pronouns in the singular.


Hopefully that clear it up a bit! Thanks for your question!

December 2, 2014

I guess I'm in the minority.  If I ever use the singular they I feel I have made a mistake.

May 8, 2015

I am a native English speaker and I prefer using singular "they" over gender specific pronouns or awkward clauses like "his or her book." Plus, some people do not identify with either gender, which means the last two approaches would be insulting to them.

March 18, 2015
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Nicole R
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, German, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), German, Polish, Portuguese, Thai