Making Nouns and Pronouns Agree
A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun. Some pronouns have nouns or pronouns to which they refer, called antecedents. Pronouns must agree with antecedents for person, number, or gender.
Some pronouns are called "indefinite" because they refer to non-specific persons or things. They are singular:
Avoiding Gender-Specific Language:
Some professors and businesspeople consider the use of the gendered pronouns "his" and "her" sexist.
One can use "their" with a single noun, such as "Everyone was concerned about their grades" to avoid "his" and "her." Check with your professor before trying this, since this usage is not yet acceptable, grammatically: it pairs a noun that should take a singular pronoun with a plural pronoun.
A good way to avoid this entirely is to rewrite the sentence, avoiding the pronoun or using plurals whenever possible:
Other Pronoun Uses
Generic Nouns represent a typical member of a group. Although generic nouns may seem plural, they are singular. In the example that follows, "student" (the noun) is generic:
Collective Nouns acting singularly require singular pronouns. In the example that follows, "department" represents the group, acting as one body:
Compound Antecedents connected by "and" are plural.
Antecedents connected by "or" or "nor" (either or, neither nor) agree with the nearest antecedent.