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What pronoun should I use if I do not know the gender identity of the person I am writing about?

Do not use a pronoun in such cases. If a last name is given, repeat the person’s last name on subsequent mentions in your paper. If a last name is not given, continue to use the person’s first name. When possible, find a way to vary references by substituting generic nouns. For example, “the author,” “the survey respondent,” “the speaker,” and so on. 

Published 9 April 2018

Direction signs

Verbs with Alternative Subjects

By Michael Kandel

Should you use a singular or plural verb after alternative subjects—that is, two nouns joined by or—when one is singular and the other plural? A common practice is to have the verb agree in number with the second subject of the pair—in other words, with the noun that is closer to the verb . . .

Published 28 November 2017

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