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In Defense Of Third Person Plural

We’ve all seen it in the very best and worst of business writing: third person singular pronouns.

I appreciate the effort to be inclusive of both sexes, but “he or she” is unwieldy. Randomly switching is no better. We get it—a theoretical CEO could be a man or a woman (probably a man). But switching back and forth every few paragraphs just feels awkward.

Fortunately the English language provides a simple solution: third person plural.

Here’s how to use it: when faced with the options of “he” or “she,” use “they.” When you need to choose between “his” or “her,” go with “their.” Same with “him” and “her” vs “them.”

It’s a simple practice, but it makes writing flow. It’s grammatically acceptable and easy to implement. Do yourself and your readers a favor, and use the third person plural when the third person singular gender is unknown!


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