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The original version of a particular sentence:

EWB is a group of engineers that, unlike many engineering corporations, assist people around the world by applying its knowledge to solve problems in the health and education sectors.

My proposed improved version of that sentence:

EWB is a group of engineers that, unlike many engineering corporations, assist people around the world by applying their knowledge to solve problems in the health and education sectors.

Explanation: EWB is a group of [Engineers that, unlike many engineering corporations, assist people around the world by applying their knowledge ….]

Question

Does my change seem ok? Is it an improvement? Are both versions equally good, or is one of them better? Do they both say the same thing?

What about dialect? Does it matter whether this sentence is meant mainly for North American speakers of English as opposed to one from countries outside of North America?

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  • The problem starts already with your "unlike" phrase, because you're comparing apples and oranges. If you make it apples to apples then the its-they problem goes away. For example: EWB is a small engineering firm etc. – aparente001 Jul 1 at 22:14
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I think what makes this tricky is the subclause "unlike many engineering corporations". The verb assist seems to want to refer to the engineers themselves, and not the group EWB, but the subclause makes it seem like the whole sentence should be referring to just the group itself.

One fix would be to rewrite the sentence using the group as the subject throughout: "EWB is a group of engineers that, unlike many engineering corporations, assists people around the world by applying the knowledge of its members to solve problems in the health and education sectors."

Another approach might be to move that subclause to the start of the sentence: "Unlike many engineering corporations, EWB is a group of engineers that assist people around the world by applying their knowledge to solve problems in the health and education sectors."

But I think the best approach is to remove that clause entirely, or maybe put it at the start of the next sentence: "EWB is a group of engineers that assist people around the world by applying their knowledge to solve problems in the health and education sectors."

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