They

'They' is a third person plural pronoun. In this part, we will go through its uses and grammatical rules in the English grammar.

How to use "They" in the English Grammar

They is a third-person plural pronoun to refer to a group of people. However, it can be used as a singular pronoun. In this lesson, we will discuss when and how to use it.

'They' as a Subject Pronoun

Use

They as a subject pronoun is mainly used to refer to a group of people. It is also generic or replaces indefinite pronouns. They is also used to refer to people whose sex is not identified. Take a look:

  • They is a third-person plural pronoun used to refer to a group of people. For example:

She and her friends were there. They were all invited to the wedding.

'They' refers to 'she and her friends.'

They are getting ready for Halloween.

  • They is a generic pronoun. We can use they to refer to a generic group of people, such as an authority or an institution. Take a look at the following examples:

They're destroying the environment.

'They' refers to the government.

They say love is the best medicine.

  • They is used to refer to indefinite pronouns like 'anyone, someone, etc.' Take a look at the following examples:

In this place, anyone can wear anything as long as they are wearing something.

Someone will come and pick you up. They will be wearing a uniform.

  • Singular they is used when we want to refer to a person with unknown gender or a person who does not identify themselves as male or female. For example:

'We'll do anything to find the suspect. They cannot run away forever,' said Sergeant Clarke.

The suspect's gender is unknown.

Alex loves to travel. They take photos of all the places they visit.

Alex is a non-binary person.

Tip

Whether it is the singular they or the plural they, always use plural verb forms.

  • In archaic texts, they was used instead of 'those.' For example:

Forgiven are they who are full of sorrow.

Position in a Sentence

They as a subject pronoun replaces the subject. For example:

She and her mother knew where to go. They went to Santa Monica.

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