Pronoun agreement


I know leadership takes "its" as a pronoun, but somehow it doesn't ring as well as "their" because I am thinking of the individual members of the leadership. Saying "the members of the leadership" is too wooden. I like the sentence as it is. In British English it would be correct. Can I use "their"?

See example:

They were pawns in a conflict between the politicians attempting to stop the growth of black power and a black leadership increasingly growing impatient with the pace of the city's acquiescence to their demands for recognition.
asked Nov 29 '12 at 05:51 abraham h miller New member

1 answer


As you say, the convention in U.S. English is to use the singular pronoun to correspond to a single group, whereas a British writer would use "their" in your sentence, to correspond to the members of the group.  However, I do see the British usage popping up in the U.S. media occasionally, where the speaker wants to emphasize the individuals of the group.  I can't say that "their" would be considered correct by U.S. editors, but it may not be so jarring to an American audience that you couldn't use it.  What if you were to say "black leaders" instead of "a black leadership"?

link comment answered Nov 29 '12 at 12:36 David Contributor

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