- "Everyone returned to their seats."
- "Somebody left their umbrella in the office. Would they please collect it."
- "If a person doesn't want to go on living, they are often very difficult to help."
- "The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."
- "But a journalist should not be forced to reveal their sources."
这种用法的一个原因是英语没有专用于不确定性别的单数人称代词。 有些情况，这种用法可以被解释为一种名义约定，因为如everyone之类的单词，虽然在语法上是单数形式，但事实上却是复数的意义。 这种用法逐渐变多的一个原因可能是20世纪的性别包容语言运动，但是它已经被有影响力的作家使用了好几个世纪。
|He||He laughs.||I hug him.||His hair grows.||I use his.||He feeds himself.|
|She||She laughs.||I hug her.||Her hair grows.||I use hers.||She feeds herself.|
|原型they||When I tell my children a joke they laugh.||Whether they win or lose, I hug them.||As long as people live, their hair grows.||Most of my friends have cell phones, so I use theirs.||The children feed themselves.|
|单数they||When I tell someone a joke they laugh.||When I greet a friend I hug them.||When someone does not get a haircut, their hair grows long.||If my mobile phone runs out of power, a friend lets me borrow theirs.||Each child feeds themself.（不规范）|
|性别通用he||When I tell someone a joke he laughs.||When I greet a friend I hug him.||When someone does not get a haircut, his hair grows long.||If my mobile phone runs out of power, a friend lets me borrow his.||Each child feeds himself.|
单数they与“正常”的複数they有相同的词形变化形式，即them和their。它们通常都使用相同的动词形式，也就是说“when I tell someone a joke they laughs”是不规范的。
- "It is not an actor pretending to be Reagan or Thatcher, it is, in grotesque form, the person themself."—Hislop (1984);引自 Fowler's
- "Where a recipient of an allowance under section 4 absents themself from Canada [...]"—War Veterans Allowance Act, section 14.
- "[...] the following conditions are imposed on a person or group of persons in respect of whom a deposit is required: [...] to present themself or themselves at the time and place that an officer or the Immigration Division requires them to appear to comply with any obligation imposed on them under the Act."—Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, section 48.
- "And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,
- They wol come up . . ."
- —Chaucer, The Pardoner's Prologue (c. 1395); 引用自Jespersen在《Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage》。
- " 'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear the speech."— Shakespeare, Hamlet (1599);引用自《Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage》。
- "If a person is born of a . . . gloomy temper . . . they cannot help it."— Chesterfield, 《Letter to his son》 (1759);引用自《Fowler's》。
- "Now nobody does anything well that they cannot help doing"— Ruskin, 《The Crown of Wild Olive》 (1866);引用自《Fowler's》。
- "Nobody in their senses would give sixpence on the strength of a promissory note of the kind."— Bagehot, 《The Liberal Magazine》 (1910);引用自《Fowler's》。
- "I would have every body marry if they can do it properly."— Austen, 《Mansfield Park》 (1814);引用自《Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage》。
- Caesar: "No, Cleopatra. No man goes to battle to be killed."
- Cleopatra: "But they do get killed"
- —Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra (1901);引用自《Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage》。
- "A person can't help their birth."— W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1848);引用自《Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage》。
- "Suppose the life and fortune of every one of us would depend on his winning or losing a game of chess."— Thomas Huxley, A Liberal Education (1868);引自Baskervill.
- "If any one did not know it, it was his own fault."— George Washington Cable, Old Creole Days (1879);引自Baskervill.
- "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."— Article 15, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).
- "A person can't help their birth."—Rosalind in W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair (1848);引用自《牛津英语词典》于Curzan在《Gender Shifts in the History of English》。
- "Every person who turns this page has his own little diary."— W. M. Thackeray, On Lett's Diary (1869);引用自Baskervill, 《An English Grammar》。
- "Who of thise wormes shall be byten, He must have triacle; Yf not that, he shall deye."— Caxton, 《Dialogues in French and English》 (c. 1483).
在非正式英语中使用he而非they的用法的倡导，可以在18世纪中叶找到，在Ann Fisher的《A New Grammar》中写道：
1895年的语法（Baskervill, W.M.与Sewell, J.W.的《An English Grammar for the Use of High School, Academy and College Class》）标记了单数they的通用的用法，但是推荐用性别通用he，基于数协议：
指代前面出现过的泛指代词[例如everybody]或者被泛指形容词修饰的名词的另一种方法，是在后面使用复数代词。这并不是最好的用法，逻辑上显然需要使用单数代词，但是这种结构经常出现于前面说的包括或隐射两个性别。阳性词并不能表示阴性，并且应该避免 his or her 的表示法，因为很笨重.——Baskervill，An English Grammar
- "Every one must judge according to their own feelings."— Byron, Werner (1823), quoted as "Every one must judge of [sic] their own feelings."
- "Had the Doctor been contented to take my dining tables as any body in their senses would have done . . ."— Austen, Mansfield Park (1814); 
- "If the part deserve any comment, every considering Christian will make it to themselves as they go . . ."— Defoe, The Family Instructor (1816); 
- "Every person's happiness depends in part upon the respect they meet in the world . . ."— Paley, 
[. . .] 当前面说的包括男性与女性的时候，或者是一个泛指性的单词的时候，最好的方法是后续代词使用阳性单数代词 [. . .]
—Baskervill, An English Grammar
- "the ideal that every boy and girl should be so equipped that he shall not be handicapped in his struggle for social progress . . ."— C.C. Fries, American English Grammar, (1940).
- "She and Louis had a game—who could find the ugliest photograph of himself."— Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor and Franklin (1971)
- ". . . everyone will be entitled to decide for himself whether or not to have an abortion."— Albert Bleumenthal, N.Y. State Assembly (1975).
- "The patient should be informed of his therapeutic options."— 关于前列腺癌的文本 (2004)
- "It wouldn't be as if the lone astronaut would be completely by himself." (2008)
- "Kitchen table issues . . . are ones the next president can actually do something about if he actually cares about it. More likely if she cares about it!"— Hillary Rodham Clinton (2008)
- "Now, a writer is entitled to have a Roget on his desk."—Barzun (1985); quoted in Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage
- "They ‧ re going to appoint a new manager. Well I hope he does a better job than the present one."
- "A Member of Parliament should always live in his constituency."
- " . . . 当不定代词在前面使用时，需要一个单数的主格、宾格与物主代词 . . ."
- "Everyone did as he pleased" . . .
- 非正式： Somebody should let you borrow their book.
- 正式： Somebody should let you borrow his book."
- 非正式： Somebody should let you borrow their book.
- —Choy, Basic Grammar and Usage
"The average American needs the small routines of getting ready for work. As he shaves or blow-dries his hair or pulls on his panty-hose, he is easing himself by small stages into the demands of the day."
自从20世纪60年代以来，在书面语和口语中使用阳性通用名词和代词的频率就在一减少。20世纪90年代在澳大利亚收集的自发讲话语料库中，单数they变最频繁使用的通用代词。单数they的使用上升的原因，至少是部分原因，是性别中性语言的使用的增长。一百年前的作者用he作为不确定性别的指代时可能没有顾虑，但是如今的作者经常会感觉这么用不自在。在正式场合的一种方案通常是写he or she或者其它类似的，但是过度使用这种方式感觉很别扭，或者感觉很政治正确，或者都有。
- 先行词为nobody或no one：
- "I feel that if someone is not doing their job it should be called to their attention." —— 一份美国的报纸（1984），Fowler引用。
- "If anyone tells you that America's best days are behind her, then they're looking the wrong way." 乔治·布什总统, 1991年国情咨文; quoted by Garner
- "Anyone can set themselves up as an acupuncturist."——Sarah Lonsdale "Sharp Practice Pricks Reputation of Acupuncture." 《观察者》1991年12月15日，Garner引用。
- "If anybody calls, take their name and ask them to call again later." Swan提供的例子。
- "Under new rules to be announced tomorrow, it will be illegal for anyone to donate an organ to their wife." Ballantyne, "Transplant Jury to Vet Live Donors", 《星期日泰晤士报》（伦敦）1990年3月25日，Garner引用。 (1990年，妻子可以假定为女性)
- "Who thinks they can solve the problem?". Huddleston等人提供的例子， 《剑桥英语语法》（The Cambridge Grammar of the English language）。
- ". . . if the child possesses the nationality or citizenship of another country, they may lose this when they get a British passport." 来自英国护照申请表，Swan引用。
- "cognitive dissonance: "a concept in psychology [that] describes the condition in which a person's attitudes conflict with their behaviour"——《麦克米伦商业管理学词典》（Macmillan Dictionary of Business and management） (1988年版)， Garner引用。
- "A starting point would be to give more support to the company secretary. They are, or should be, privy to the confidential deliberations and secrets of the board and the company.— Ronald Severn. "Protecting the Secretary Bird". 《金融时报》，1992年1月6日，Garner引用。
- "I had to decide: Is this person being irrational or is he right? Of course, they were often right."——Robert Burchfield，《美国新闻与世界报道》（U.S. News & World Report），1986年8月11日，《韦氏简明英语用法词典》（Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage）引用
- "I swear more when I'm talking to a boy, because I'm not afraid of shocking them" 引自一个访谈
- "No mother should be forced to testify against their child".
- "I had a friend in Paris, and they had to go to hospital for a month."（确定的人，但没指明身份）
- "Someone has apparently locked themself in the office."[接受度值得怀疑]
一性用法指引我们接受被建议they的单数用法并不是仅仅是用于语义复数的单数词例如everyone，而且也用于前面指代的不确定的“个人”，这些用法的例子甚至常出现在正式演讲中。例如，Casey Miller和Kate Swift，在《无性别歧视写作手册》（The Handbook of Non-Sexist Writing）， Ronald Reagan引用：
- "You must identify the person who has the power to hire you and show them how your skills can help them with their problems."
Garner's Modern American Usage (2003)推荐小心使用单数they，并且尽可能避免使用，因为这么用有点别扭。
- "如果名词–代词不一致性可以避免，尽量避免。如果不可以避免，尽可能小心使用，因为有人会怀疑你的文化水平 . . .".
- "尽管这些发展对纯粹主义者来说可能令人不安，但它们是不可逆转的。 语法学家所说的一切都不会改变它们。"
In the 14th edition (1993) of The Chicago Manual of Style, the University of Chicago Press explicitly recommended use of singular use of they and their, noting a "revival" of this usage and citing "its venerable use by such writers as Addison, Austen, Chesterfield, Fielding, Ruskin, Scott, and Shakespeare." From the 15th edition, this was changed. In Chapter 5 of the 16th edition, now written by Bryan A. Garner, the recommendations are:
- "The singular they. A singular antecedent requires a singular referent pronoun. Because he is no longer accepted as a generic pronoun referring to a person of either sex, it has become common in speech and in informal writing to substitute the third-person plural pronouns they, them, their, and themselves, and the nonstandard singular themself. While this usage is accepted in casual context, it is still considered ungrammatical in formal writing."
- "Gender bias. . . . On the one hand, it is unacceptable to a great many reasonable readers to use the generic masculine pronoun (he in reference to no one in particular). On the other hand, it is unacceptable to a great many readers (often different readers) either to resort to non-traditional gimmicks to avoid the generic masculine (by using he/she of s/he, for example) or to use they as a kind of singular pronoun. Either way, credibility is lost with some readers."
According to The American Heritage Book of English Usage, many Americans avoid use of they to refer to a singular antecedent out of respect for a "traditional" grammatical rule, despite use of singular they by modern writers of note and mainstream publications:
- "Most of the Usage Panel rejects the use of they with singular antecedents as ungrammatical, even in informal speech. Eighty-two percent find the sentence The typical student in the program takes about six years to complete their course work unacceptable. . . . panel members seem to make a distinction between singular nouns, such as the typical student and a person, and pronouns that are grammatically singular but semantically plural, such as anyone, everyone and no one. Sixty-four percent of panel members accept the sentence No one is willing to work for those wages anymore, are they?"
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association explicitly reject the use of singular they and gives the following example as "incorrect" usage:
- "Neither the highest scorer nor the lowest scorer in the group had any doubt about their competence."
while also specifically taking a stand that generic he is unacceptable. The APA recommends using he or she, recasting the sentence with a plural subject to allow correct use of they, or simply rewriting the sentence to avoid issues with gender or number.
Strunk & White, the authors of The Elements of Style find use of they with a singular antecedent unacceptable:
- "They. Not to be used when the antecedent is a distributive expression, such as each, each one. everybody, every one, many a man. Use the singular pronoun. [. . . ] A similar fault is the use of the plural pronoun with the antecedent anybody, anyone, somebody, someone [. . . ] The use of he as pronoun for nouns embracing both genders is a simple, practical convention rooted in the beginnings of the English language. "
Their assessment, in 1979, was
- "He has lost all suggestion of maleness in these circumstances. [. . .] It has no pejorative connotation; it is never incorrect."
Joseph M. Williams, who wrote a number of books on writing with "clarity and grace", discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various solutions when faced with the problem of referring to an antecedent such as someone, everyone, no one or a noun that does not indicate gender and suggests that this will continue to be a problem for some time. He "suspect[s] that eventually we will accept the plural they as a correct singular" but states that currently "formal usage requires a singular pronoun".
According to The Little, Brown Handbook, most experts—and some teachers and employers—find use of singular they unacceptable:
- "Although some experts accept they, them, and their with singular indefinite words, most do not, and many teachers and employers regard the plural as incorrect. To be safe, work for agreement between singular indefinite words and the pronouns that refer to them [. . . ]"
It recommends using he or she or avoiding the problem by rewriting the sentence to use a plural or omit the pronoun.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) maintains that singular they is incorrect:
- "Remember: the words everybody, anybody, anyone, each, neither, nobody, someone, a person, etc. are singular and take singular pronouns."
In the first edition of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (published in 1926) it is stated that singular they is disapproved of by grammarians and should be avoided in favour of the generic he. Examples of its use by eminent writers are given, but it is suggested that "few good modern writers would flout [grammarians] so conspicuously as Fielding and Thackeray", whose sentences are described as having an "old-fashioned sound".
In the second edition of Fowler's, Fowler's Modern English Usage (edited by Sir Ernest Gowers and published in 1965), it is stated that singular they is disapproved of by grammarians and, while common in colloquial speech, should preferably be avoided in favour of the generic he in prose. Numerous examples of its use by eminent writers are given, but it is still suggested that "few good modern writers would flout [grammarians] so conspicuously as Fielding and Thackeray".
According to the third edition of Fowler's (The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, edited by Burchfield and published in 1996) singular they has not only been widely used by good writers for centuries, but is now generally accepted, except by some conservative grammarians, including the Fowler of 1926, who ignored the evidence:
- "Over the centuries, writers of standing have used they, their, and them with anaphoric reference to a singular noun or pronoun, and the practice has continued in the 20C. to the point that, traditional grammarians aside, such constructions are hardly noticed any more or are not widely felt to lie in a prohibited zone. Fowler (1926) disliked the practice [. . .] and gave a number of unattributed 'faulty' examples [. . . ] The evidence presented in the OED points in another direction altogether."
The Complete Plain Words was originally written in 1948 by Sir Ernest Gowers, a civil servant, in an attempt by the British civil service to improve "official English". A second edition, edited by Sir Bruce Fraser, was published in 1973. It refers to they or them as the "equivalent of a singular pronoun of common sex" as "common in speech and not unknown in serious writing " but "stigmatized by grammarians as usage grammatically indefensible. The books advice for "official writers" (civil servants) is to avoid its use and not to be tempted by its "greater convenience", though "necessity may eventually force it into the category of accepted idiom".
A new edition of Plain Words, revised and updated by Sir Ernest Gowers' great granddaughter, Rebecca Gowers, was published in 2014. It notes that singular they and them have become much more widespread since Gowers' original comments, but still finds it "safer" to treat a sentence like 'The reader may toss their book aside' as incorrect "in formal English", while rejecting even more strongly sentences like
- "There must be opportunity for the individual boy or girl to go as far as his keennness and ability will take him."
The Times Style and Usage Guide (first published in 2003 by The Times of London) recommends avoiding sentences like
- "If someone loves animals, they should protect them."
by using a plural construction:
- "If people love animals, they should protect them."
The Cambridge Guide to English Usage" (2004) finds singular they "unremarkable":
- "For those listening or reading, it has become unremarkable—an element of common usage.
It expresses several preferences.
- "Generic/universal their provides a gender-free pronoun, avoiding the exclusive his and the clumsy his/her. It avoids gratuitous sexism and gives the statement broadest reference . . . They, them, their are now freely used in agreement with singular indefinite pronouns and determiners, those with universal implications such as any(one), every(one), no(one), as well as each and some(one), whose reference is often more individual . . ."
The Economist Style Guide refers to the use of they in sentences like
- "We can't afford to squander anyone's talents, whatever colour their skin is."
as "scrambled syntax that people adopt because they cannot bring themselves to use a singular pronoun".
The New Hart's Rules is aimed at those engaged in copy editing, and the emphasis is on the formal elements of presentation including punctuation and typeface, rather than on linguistic style but—like The Chicago Manual of Style—makes occasional forays into matters of usage. It advises against use of the purportedly gender-neutral he, and suggests cautious use of they where he or she presents problems.
- ". . . it is now regarded. . . as old-fashioned or sexist to use he in reference to a person of unspecified sex, as in every child needs to know that he is loved. The alternative he or she is often preferred, and in formal contexts probably the best solution, but can become tiresome or long-winded when used frequently. Use of they in this sense (everyone needs to feel that they matter) is becoming generally accepted both in speech and in writing, especially where it occurs after an indefinite pronoun such as everyone or someone, but should not be imposed by an editor if an author has used he or she consistently."
The 2011 edition of the New International Version Bible uses singular they instead of the traditional he when translating pronouns that apply to both genders in the original Greek or Hebrew. This decision was based on research by a commission that studied modern English usage and determined that singular they (them/their) was by far the most common way that English-language speakers and writers today refer back to singular antecedents such as whoever, anyone, somebody, a person, no one, and the like."
The Australian Federation Press Style Guide for use in preparation of book manuscripts recommends "Gender-neutral language should be used", stating that use of they and their as singular pronouns is acceptable.
According to A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985):
- "The pronoun they is commonly used as a 3rd person singular pronoun that is neutral between masculine and feminine. . . . At one time restricted to informal usage. it is now increasingly accepted in formal usage, especially in [American English].
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language discusses the prescriptivist argument that they is a plural pronoun and that the use of they with a singular "antecedent" therefore violates the rule of agreement between antecedent and pronoun, but takes the view that they, though primarily plural, can also be singular in a secondary extended sense, comparable to the purportedly extended sense of he to include female gender.
Use of singular they is stated to be "particularly common", even "stylistically neutral" with antecedents such as everyone, someone, and no one, but more restricted when referring to common nouns as antecedents, as in
- "The patient should be told at the outset how much they will be required to pay."
- "A friend of mine has asked me to go over and help them . . ."
Use of the pronoun themself is described as being "rare" and "acceptable only to a minority of speakers", while use of the morphologically plural themselves is considered problematic when referring to someone rather that everyone (since only the latter implies a plural set).
There are also issues of grammatical acceptability when reflexive pronouns refer to singular noun phrases joined by or, the following all being problematic:
- "Either the husband or the wife has perjured himself." [ungrammatical]
- "Either the husband or the wife has perjured themselves." [of questionable grammaticality]
- "Either the husband or the wife has perjured themself." [typically used by only some speakers of Standard English].
On the motivation for using singular they, A Student's Introduction to English Grammar states
- "this avoidance of he can't be dismissed just as a matter of political correctness. The real problem with using he is that it unquestionably colours the interpretation, sometimes inappropriately. . . he doesn't have a genuinely sex-neutral sense".
The alternative he or she can be "far too cumbersome", as in
- "Everyone agreed that he or she would bring his or her lunch with him or her.
or even " flatly ungrammatical", as in
- "Everyone's here, isn't he or she?
"Among younger speakers", use of singular they even with definite noun-phrase antecedents finds increasing acceptance, "sidestepping any presumption about the sex of the person referred to", as in
- "You should ask your partner what they think."
- "The person I was with said they hated the film." Example given by Huddleston et al.
Distributive constructions apply a single idea to multiple members of a group. They are typically marked in English by words like each, every and any. The simplest examples are applied to groups of two, and use words like either and or—"Would you like tea or coffee?". Since distributive constructions apply an idea relevant to each individual in the group, rather than to the group as a whole, they are most often conceived of as singular, and a singular pronoun is used.
- "England expects that every man will do his duty."—Nelson (1806, referring to a fleet crewed by male sailors)
- "Every dog hath his day." —John Ray A Collection of English Proverbs (1670), originally from Plutarch, Moralia, c. 95 AD, regarding the death of Euripides.
However, many languages, including English, show ambivalence in this regard. Because distribution also requires a group with more than one member, plural forms are sometimes used.[a]
According to the traditional analysis, English personal pronouns (e.g. his, her, their) are typically used to refer backward (or forward) within a sentence to a noun phrase (which may be a simple noun). This reference is called an anaphoric reference, and the referring pronoun is termed an anaphor.[b]
The so-called singular they is morphologically plural, and is accompanied by a plural verb. However, it is often used in circumstances where an indeterminate antecedent is signified by an indefinite singular antecedent; for example,
- "The person you mentioned, are they coming?"
In some sentences, typically those including words like every or any, the morphologically singular antecedent does not refer to a single entity but is "anaphorically linked" to the associated pronoun to indicate a set of pairwise relationships, as in the sentence:
- "Everyone returned to their seats." (where each person is associated with one seat)
One explanation given for the use of they to refer to a singular antecedent is notional agreement, when the antecedent is seen as semantically plural, as in the Shaw quotation
- "No man goes to battle to be killed." . . . "But they do get killed. [Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage]
In other words, in the Shaw quotation no man is syntactically singular, demonstrated by taking the singular form goes; however, it is semantically plural (all go [to kill] not to be killed), hence idiomatically requiring they.
Linguists like Pinker and Huddleston explain sentences like this (and others) in terms of bound variables, a term borrowed from logic. Pinker prefers the terms quantifier and bound variable to antecedent and pronoun.
The word reference is traditionally used in two different senses:
- the relationship between an anaphor (e.g. a pronoun) and its antecedent;
- the relationship between a noun phrase and the real-world entity (the referen).
With a morphologically singular antecedent, there are a number of possibilities, including the following:
- coreferential, with a definite antecedent (the antecedent and the anaphoric pronoun both refer to the same real-world entity):
- "Your wife phoned but she didn't leave a message."
- coreferential with an indefinite antecedent:
- "One of your girlfriends phoned, but she didn't leave a message."
- "One of your boyfriends phoned, but he didn't leave a message.
- "One of your friends phoned, but they didn't leave a message."
- reference to a hypothetical, indefinite entity
- "If you had an unemployed daughter, what would you think if she wanted to accept work as a pole dancer?"
- "If you had an unemployed child, what would you think if they wanted to accept work as a mercenary or a pole dancer?"
- a bound variable pronoun is anaphorically linked to a quantifier (no single real-world or hypothetical entity is referenced):
- "Nobody knew where they were."
- "Every woman present sat with their breasts in full view."
复数代词they用于指代单数先行词的用法逐渐增多，一些研究尝试断定这种用法会不会让理解变得更“困难”。 此研究之一是，《性别中性搜寻：单数they是对性别通用he在认识上的一个高效替代吗？》Foertsch与Gernsbacher著，他们发现“单数they是对性别通用he或she在认识上的一个高效替代，尤其是当先行词没有明确所指的时候”（例如anybody或者a nurse），而很少用于指代确定的一个人的时候（例如a runner I knew或者my nurse）。单数they的语句读起来“就像包含了先行词具有常规性别映像对应的有性代词的语句一样快”（例如护士用she，卡车司机用he），并且“比包含了与先行词常规性别映像的性别相反有性代词语句更快”（例如护士用he，卡车司机用she）。
- "Either the plural or the singular may be acceptable for a true bound pronoun. . . .": "Every student thinks she / they is / are smart."
- The more usual case, where the pronoun follows the antecedent, it is called a retrospective anaphor. The less usual case, where the pronoun precedes the antecedent (as in the sentence "When he saw the damage, the headmaster called the police.") [example from cited source] is called an anticipatory anaphor. Some writers use the term anaphor only for retrospective anaphors and use the term cataphor for anticipatory anaphors. The word endophor may also be used for both.
- Pinker 1995，第378頁.
- Swan 2009，§528.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第493頁.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第494頁.
- Huddleston 2005，第104頁. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHuddleston2005 (help)
- Fowler 1996，第777頁.
- Hislop 1984，第23頁.
- Fowler 1996，第776, themself頁.
- Canadian government 2013，第18頁.
- Canadian government 2014，第48頁.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第493–494頁.
- American Heritage Dictionaries 1996，第178頁.
- Chaucer 1395，第195頁.
- Merriam-Webster 2002，第734頁.
- Shakespeare 1599，第105頁.
- Merriam-Webster 2002，第735頁.
- Chesterfield 1759，第568頁.
- Fowler 1996，第779頁.
- Ruskin 1866，第44頁.
- Bagehot 1910.
- Fowler 1926，第648頁.
- Austen 1814，第37頁.
- Shaw 1901，第67頁.
- Thackeray 1868，第66頁.
- Fowler 1996，第358頁.
- Huxley 1868.
- Baskervill 1895，§409.
- Cable 1879.
- UNO 1948.
- Curzan 2003，第77頁.
- Thackeray 1869，第189頁.
- Baskervill 1895，§410.
- Caxton 1489，第39頁.
- Caxton 1483，第11頁.
- Fisher 1750.
- Ostade 2000.
- Baskervill 1895，§411.
- Byron 1823，第vi頁.
- Austen 1860，第195頁. sfn error: no target: CITEREFAusten1860 (help)
- Defoe 1816，第200頁.
- Paley 1825，第200頁.
- Miller & Swift 1995，第46頁.
- Warenda 1993，第101頁.
- Fries 1969，第215頁.
- Lash 1981，第454頁.
- Bleumenthal 1975.
- Weiss, Kaplan & Fair 2004，第147頁.
- Atkinson 2008.
- Spillius 2008.
- Barzun 1985.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第492頁.
- Choy & Clark 2010，第213頁.
- Miller & Swift 1995，第1–9頁.
- Miller & Swift 1995，第11–61頁.
- Safire 1985，第46–47頁.
- Adendyck 1985.
- Miller & Swift 1995，第46–47頁.
- CNN 2014.
- Pauwels 2003，第563頁.
- Matossian 1997.
- Garner 2003，第643頁.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第1458頁.
- Fowler 1996，第776頁.
- Bush 1991，第101頁.
- Garner 2003，第175頁.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第1473頁.
- Newman 1998.
- Chicago 2010，§5.222.
- Garner 2003，第718頁.
- Quirk et al. 1985，第770頁.
- Miller & Swift 1995，第50頁.
- Garner 2003，第174頁.
- Garner 2003，第643–644頁.
- Chicago 1993，第76–77頁.
- Chicago 2010，§5.46.
- American Heritage Dictionaries 1996，第178–179頁.
- APA 2001，第47頁.
- Strunk & White 1979，第60頁.
- Williams 2008，第23–25頁.
- Fowler 1992，第354頁.
- PurdueOWL. sfn error: no target: CITEREFPurdueOWL (help)
- Fowler 1965，第635頁.
- Gowers 1973，第140頁.
- Gowers 2014，第210–213頁.
- Peters 2004，第538頁.
- Economist 2010，第117頁.
- OUP 2012，第27頁.
- Washington Post 2011.
- Federation Press 2014.
- Pinker 1995，第370–403頁.
- Huang 2009，第144頁.
- Huddleston & Pullum 2002，第1455–1456頁.
- Merriam-Webster 2002，第736頁.
- Foertsch & Gernsbacher 1997.
- Atkinson, Nancy. A One Way One Person Mission to Mars. 4 March 2008 [17 January 2014]. （原始内容存档于2010-06-24）.
- Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. Richard Bentley. 1833 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Bagehot, Walter. Speech in Portsmouth, 10 November 1910. The Liberal Magazine (Liberal Publication Department (Great Britain)). 1910, 221915 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Barzun, Jacques. Simple and Direct. Harper and Row. 1985.
- Bleumenthal, Albert. Debate on abortion (Speech). 1975.
- Cuellar, Jessica. A Study of Presidential State of the Union Addresses: The Sells and Arguments that are Used. Oklahoma State University. ProQuest. 2008. ISBN 9780549992882.
- Byron, Baron George Gordon Byron. Werner, a Tragedy. A. and W. Galignani. 1823 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Cable, George Washington. Old Creole Days. 1907  [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-07-02）.
- Canadian government. Canadian War Veterans Allowance Act (1985) as amended 12 December 2013 (pdf). Government of Canada. 12 December 2013 [19 April 2014]. R.S.C., 1985, c. W-3. （原始内容存档 (PDF)于2020-04-30）.
- Canadian government. Immigration and RefugeeProtection Regulations (2002) as amended 6 February 2014 (pdf). Government of Canada. 6 February 2014 [19 April 2014]. SOR/2002-227. （原始内容存档 (PDF)于2020-12-12）.
- Caxton, William. Richardson, Octavia , 编. The right plesaunt and goodly historie of the foure sonnes of Aymon. Early English Text Society. 1884: 38f [c. 1489] [11 January 2014].
- Caxton, William. Bradley, Henry , 编. Dialogues in French and English. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd. for the Early English Text Society. 1890: 11 [c. 1483] [11 January 2014].
- Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Pardoner's Prologue. Benson, Larry Dean (编). The Riverside Chaucer. Oxford University Press. 2008  [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780199552092. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope Earl of. Letters to his Son, CCCLV, dated 27 April 27, 1759. The Works of Lord Chesterfield. Harper. 17591845 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Defoe, Daniel. The Family Instructor. Brightly and Childs. 1816 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Fries, Joseph P. The inflections and syntax of present-day American English with especial reference to social differences or class dialects: the report of an investigation financed by the National Council of Teachers of English and supported by the Modern Language Association and the Linguistic Society of America. Bolton, W.F.; Crystal (编). The English Language Volume 2 Essays by Linguistics and Men of Letters 1858-1964. Cambridge University Press Archive. 1969  [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780451140760. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Hislop, Ian. Ian Hislop. The Listener (British Broadcasting Corporation). 1984, 111.
- Huxley, Thomas Henry. A Liberal Education. Kessinger Publishing. 2005. ISBN 9781425357603.
- Lash, Joseph P. Eleanor and Franklin. Penguin Group (Canada). 1981  [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780451140760. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
quoted in Reader' Digest, 1983, as an example of its awkwardness when referring to both sexes.
- Paley, William; Paley, Edmund; Paxton, James. The Works of William Paley: The principles of moral and political philosophy. C. and J. Rivington and J. Nunn. 1825 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Ruskin, John. The Works of John Ruskin: The Crown of Wild Olive. George Allen. 1873  [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Shakespeare, , W.; Loffelt, Antonie Cornelis. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. J. L. Beijers en J. van Boekhoven. 1867 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2014-03-11）.
- Shaw, George Bernard. Caesar and Cleopatra. Floating Press. 2011 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9781775453499. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Spillius, Alex. US elections: Hillary Clinton 'about to drop out'. The Telegraph. 12 May 2008 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2020-11-08）.
- Thackeray, William Makepeace. The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray : in 22 Volumes: Vanity fair 2. Smith, Elder. 1868 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Thackeray, William Makepeace. On Lett's Diary. The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray 20. Smith, Elder. 1869 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- UNO. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations Organization. 1948 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2011-02-27）.
- Weiss, R.E.; Kaplan, S.A.; Fair, W.R. Management of Prostate Diseases. Cambridge; New York: Professional Communications Inc. 2004 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9781884735950. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Adendyck, C. [Letter commenting on] Hypersexism And the Feds. The New York Times. 7 July 1985 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2020-10-10）.
- The American Heritage Book of English Usage: A Practical and Authoritative Guide to Contemporary English. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1996 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780547563213. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association 5th. 2001.
- Baskervill, W.M.; Sewell, J.W. An English Grammar. 1895 [17 December 2013]. （原始内容存档于2009-09-24）.
- University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers 14th. University of Chicago Press. 1993. ISBN 0226103897.
- University of Chicago Press. The Chicago Manual of Style 16th. University of Chicago Press. 2010. ISBN 9780226104201.
- Choy, Penelope; Clark, Dorothy Goldbart. Basic Grammar and Usage 8th. Cengage Learning. 2010 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9781428211551. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Griggs, Brandon. Facebook goes beyond 'male' and 'female' with new gender options. CNN. 13 February 2014 [2020-10-22]. （原始内容存档于2018-10-16）.
- Curzan, Anne. Gender Shifts in the History of English. Studies in English Language. Cambridge University Press. 2003 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9781139436687. （原始内容存档于2015-04-02）.
- Economist Style Guide. Studies in English Language 10th. The Economist Group / Profile Books. 2010. ISBN 978-1-846-68606-1.
- Edzard, Dietz Otto. Handbuch der Orientalistik. Brill. 2003.
- Federation Press Style Guide for Use in Preparation of Book Manuscripts (pdf). [14 January 2014]. （原始内容存档 (PDF)于2013-05-10）.
- Fisher, Ann. A New Grammar (reprinted in facsimile) 2nd. Newcastle upon Tyne: R.C. Alston. 17501974 .
- Fowler, Henry Ramsey; Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Handbook 5th. HarperCollins. 1992: 300–301. ISBN 067352132X..
N.B.: This is not the English usage authority Henry Watson Fowler.
- Fowler, H.W.; Crystal, David. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press. 2009 . ISBN 9780199585892.
- Fowler, H.W.; Gowers, Sir Ernest. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press. 1965.
- Fowler, H.W.; Burchfield, R.W. The New Fowler's Modern English Usage. Oxford University Press. 1996. ISBN 9780198610212.
- Foertsch, Julie; Gernsbacher, Morton Ann. In Search of Gender Neutrality: Is Singular They a Cognitively Efficient Substitute for Generic He? (PDF). Psychological Science. March 1997, 8 (2): 106–111 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容 (pdf)存档于2015-05-02）.
- Garner, Bryan A. Garner's Modern American Usage. Oxford University Press. 2003. ISBN 0195161912.
- Gowers, Ernest; Fraser, Bruce. The Complete Plain Words. H.M. Stationery Office. 1973. ISBN 0117003409.
- Gowers, Ernest; Gowers, Rebecca. Plain Words. London: Particular. 2014 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780241960356. （原始内容存档于2014-04-08）.
- Gowers, Ernest. Plain words. London: Particular. 2014. ISBN 9780241960356.
- Huang, C.T.J. Between Syntax and Semantics. Taylor & Francis. 2009 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9780203873526. （原始内容存档于2015-05-12）.
- Huddleston, Rodney; Pullum, Geoffrey. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. 2002. ISBN 0-521-43146-8.
- Huddleston, Rodney D.; Pullum, Geoffrey K. A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge University Press. 2005. ISBN 9780521848374.
- Matossian, Lou Ann. Burglars, Babysitters, and Persons: A Sociolinguistic Study of Generic Pronoun Usage in Philadelphia and Minneapolis (PDF). Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1997 [2006-06-10]. （原始内容 (PDF)存档于2012-02-19）.
- Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage. Penguin. 2002. ISBN 9780877796336.
- Miller, Casey; Swift, Kate. Kate Mosse , 编. The Handbook of Non-Sexist Writing for Writers, Editors and Speakers 3rd British. The Women's Press. 1995 . ISBN 07043-44424.
- Newman, Michael. What Can Pronouns Tell Us? A Case Study of English Epicenes. Studies in language (John Benjamins). 1998, 22 (2): 353–389. ISSN 0378-4177.
- Oxford University Press. New Hart's Rules. New Oxford Style Manual. Oxford University Press. 2012. ISBN 9780199657223.
- Peters, Pam. The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004 [2014-07-26]. ISBN 9783125331877. （原始内容存档于2014-02-01）.
- Ostade, Ingrid Tieken-Boon van. Female grammarians of the eighteenth century. University of Leiden. 28 August 2000 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2011-06-09）.
- Pauwels, Anne. Linguistic sexism and feminist linguistic activism. Holmes, Janet and Meyerhoff, Miriam (eds.) (编). The Handbook of Language and Gender. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 2003. ISBN 0631225021.
- Pinker, Steven. The Language Mavens. The Language Instinct. Penguin. 1995 . ISBN 0140175296.
- Berry, Chris; Brizee, Allen. Using Pronouns Clearly. [2014-08-02]. （原始内容存档于2014-07-12）.
- Quirk, Randolph; Greenbaum, Sidney; Leech, Geoffrey; Svartvik, Jan. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Harlow: Longman. 1985. ISBN 9780582517349.
- Safire, William. On Language; You Not Tarzan, Me Not Jane. The New York Times. 28 April 1985 [2014-07-26]. （原始内容存档于2020-10-10）.
- Strunk, William; White, E.E.B. The Elements of Style 3rd. Allyn & Bacon. 1979. ISBN 9780205191581.
- Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage 3rd. Oxford University Press. 2009. ISBN 9780194420983.
- Warenda, Amy. They (pdf). The WAC Journal. April 1993, 4 [28 December 2013]. （原始内容存档 (PDF)于2020-12-06）.
- New Bible draws critics of gender-neutral language. The Washington Post. Associated Press. 17 March 2011 [23 November 2013]. （原始内容存档于2020-12-12）.
- Williams, Joseph M. Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace. Longman. 2008. ISBN 978-0205605354.
- "Anyone who had a heart (would know their own language) （页面存档备份，存于互联网档案馆）", Geoff Pullum著, 电台访谈的摘录