he/she or they

1

What pronoun should be used in my example sentence? Example: The new volunteer attends an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual. Using he/she instead of "they" seems awkward, especially when it is repeated throughout the text. 

subject pronoun asked May 01 '12 at 21:49 Julie Haddan New member

4 answers


1

Replace he/she with another pronoun.  Everybody. All. Everyone.

link comment answered May 02 '12 at 19:46 Kevin Knott New member
0

Your question is the subject of great debate amongst writers and grammarians. It stems from a desire to avoid "sexist" language.

 

Technically, using the pronoun "they" (plural) following the singular subject "volunteer" is incorrect. You need to keep the pronoun in agreement with the subject. You have several choices:

 

Use "he/she". However, most agree this usage is awkward, and many complain that writing (and grammar) should not suffer for political correctness.

 

Alternate the use of "he" and "she" throughout the text. Many writers alternate by paragraph, using "he" in one paragraph and "she" in the next.

 

Change the subject to a plural. Use "All new volunteers attend ...." 

 

Hope this helps.

link comment answered May 01 '12 at 22:06 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow
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I agree that he/she is awkward.  Would it be possible to make volunteer plural?  That would take care of the pronoun agreement issue.  (Remember to change your verb, as well.)

link comment answered May 01 '12 at 22:09 Jody M. Expert
0

Participants attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

New participants attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

Rookies attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

New-comers attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

Volunteers attend an orientation where everyone is given a Volunteer Manual.

Advice: Sometimes specific information can make choice of words easier. Consider revising sentence. Volunteers for what organization?

Example: Candy-strippers attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

Soup kitchen workers attend an orientation where they are given a Volunteer Manual.

link comment answered May 01 '12 at 22:11 Kevin Knott New member

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