Community Web Version Now Available
Use of pronouns Hi everyone, I have a question about the use of pronoun? Please help me I have a sentence like this: "I just want my child to be safe. I want to protect them from you". From what I have learned, child is singular, so using "them" in the second sentence seems weird to me. But in this context, the speaker has just been pregnant and not known the gender of the baby yet. So what can I do with the pronoun "them"? Is it acceptable to use here? Please help me with this. Thanks a lot.
Aug 28, 2020 7:41 AM
Answers · 4
Here's what it says on the container of Johnson's baby powder that I have in my bathroom: "When a baby is born, their skin is at its most delicate." See that? Probably the world's leading baby product manufacturer, using the singular 'they' to refer to 'a baby'. If Johnson and Johnson can do it, so can you! I think your sentence is fine. In the context, it is the only reasonable pronoun to use.
August 28, 2020
Yes, it's fine. If you don't know the gender or don't want to use it you can replace he/she with they and him/her with them. It's much easier to say: They gave it to them. Than it is to say: He/she gave it to him/her. People might be offended if you called the baby it, which is your other option: I want to protect it from you. Sometimes this use as a plural is frowned upon, but it's so commonly used that I wouldn't even worry about it, and using "it" instead of them sounds unpleasant to a lot of people. Here is some more information:
August 28, 2020
Language Skills
English, Vietnamese
Learning Language