Please help me with this!!!!!!


Do we use them with one? like in the example below:

"One" should always be careful... because "they" might get into trouble

Word Sentence help grammar asked Aug 24 '12 at 16:12 user22 Contributor

1 answer


Sorry Sanjay, but the sentence is not grammatically correct. It is, however, an error that is becoming ubiquitous and may someday be considered correct.


"One" is singular and "they" is plural, so the parts of the sentence do not agree in number.


This error entered the language in the 1970s as writers became concerned about using sexist terms. Until then, the sentence would have been "one should be careful because he might get into trouble." Because English does not have a singular neuter pronoun, writers and speakers cast about looking for a non-sexist solution. Some adopted the awkward he or she --> one should be careful because he or she might get into trouble. Others choose to alternate using he and she throught the text -- he might be used in one paragraph and she in the next.


The problem can be avoided by changing from the third person to the second person. You should be careful because you might get into trouble. However, second person is not considered apprpriate for all types of writing.


Careful writers who wish to use they as a non-sexist substitute will make sure the sentence subject is also plural. For instance, people should be careful because they might get into trouble.


I hope this helps.

link answered Aug 24 '12 at 16:33 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Do you mean to say that Tolley's answer is incorrect?

sanjayAug 24 '12 at 16:48

No, Tolley and I agree -- the sentence is incorrect. My answer refers to to your deleted answer. Tolley offers one method of fixing the problem, and i offered a different method. Although the sentence is wrong, the error is VERY common. Because English evolves, there are those who believe that someday the error will be considered okay. Tolley and I agree that it is still an error today.

Jeff PribylAug 24 '12 at 17:33


TolleyAug 25 '12 at 01:00

Okay, sir. Thank you very much.

sanjayAug 25 '12 at 05:03

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