Posted by: episystechpubs | March 1, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Pronoun Agreement

Today, I’m going to discuss a common mistake people make regarding pronoun agreement. Many people use the wrong pronoun when referring to a business or an organization (like the hospital, or the credit union).

Here’s an example:

  • The hospital has hired as many nurses as it/they can afford.

The correct pronoun for that sentence is it. Why? Because the hospital is a singular noun, so the pronoun must also be singular.

If you were writing about multiple hospitals, you would use they.

  • Hospitals hire as many nurses as they can afford.

Likewise, when you’re dealing with the possessive pronouns its and their, you should use its when referring to a singular business and their when referring to more than one business:

  • The credit union treats its members like family.
  • Credit unions treat their members like family.

My credit union treats me better than my real family. Case in point, on my recent return from two weeks away, my husband said, “Good thing you’re back. The dogs left you a lot of presents in the back yard.”

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

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