Which sentence is correct:

The rules were challenged because they impose an onerous burden.

The rules were challenged because it imposes an onerous burden.

The second one seems to be wrong because it uses the singular "it" to describe the plural object "the rules", but how should the sentence be fixed? By using the first sentence?

  • 1
    Be consistent with the tense. The rules were challenged because they imposed ..., or the rules are being challenged because they impose ... – Peter Jan 25 at 7:23
  • 4
    Whyever not? Rules is plural, so it takes a plural pronoun. – Kate Bunting Jan 25 at 8:10
  • 1
    Simply put, they may refer to a plural noun--more than one person, place, thing, or "idea" (by idea, they mean abstract entities). That's one reason this is hard to research; native speakers learn when to use they before they learn what abstract means. Another reason this is hard to research--singular they--not to mention generic they (as in they mean abstract entities), or whatever that usage is called. So I couldn't find any good sources. But good luck and welcome to ELU. – KannE Jan 25 at 11:32
  • In English, they is third-person plural (and often singular also) regardless of gender (male/female/neuter/etc). – Lawrence Jan 25 at 12:00
  • 1
    'The times, they are a-changin'.' – Edwin Ashworth Jan 25 at 15:20

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