Singular Noun, Plural Pronouns
There's No 'They' There
By Evan Jenkins
The article paraphrased an official as saying that "no bond firm should feel any pressure simply because they were called by the City Budget Director." Another piece said that "the network is looking to change all that by following their old letters with a new number: 24." A bond firm isn't a "they," it's an "it." And the possessive pronoun for a network is "its," not "their." Singular, not plural. In conversation we all use the plural pronoun after singular nouns, and no one (except maybe the colleague who was the smartest kid in the fifth grade) corrects us out loud. In writing, though, common as it is, the use of the plural should be avoided; it's wrong. If the singular pronoun sounds too forced, reworking the passage is worth the effort.
The day may come when “they” is accepted as both singular and plural, but it hasn’t come yet.See Also: He or She, etc.