In this guide, bold font and parentheses are used to draw attention to pronouns. Screen Reader Users: Please set your program's punctuation level to 'most' or 'all' in order to hear the content in parentheses.
A pronoun (e.g., I, me, she, herself, you, it, that, they, many, who, whoever, whose) replaces a noun. A pronoun must agree in person (I, he, it, they, etc.) and number (singular or plural) with the noun to which it refers.
They/them/their/theirs and other non-binary/gender-neutral pronouns can be used either when the gender of a person is not known or when a person chooses a non-binary pronoun as a gender marker for themselves. The American Dialect Society named the singular “they” the word of the year in 2015. Writers are increasingly using “they” as a singular pronoun to be more inclusive. Learn more about gendered pronouns and singular "they."
Remember that “who” and “whom” are used to refer to people, and “that” and “which” refer to everything else.
When you use a pronoun in a sentence, the reader should be able to clearly identify which noun you are replacing. Below is an example of an unclear versus clear sentence:
When you use two pronouns in a sentence to replace the same noun, these pronouns should be identical. Below are examples of unclear versus clear sentences:
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