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I have read an article about Plural They and now I have a question struggling in my mind. Consider the following sentences:

Each child played with their parent.

Every client got a care package delivered to them.

May I use the pronoun "it" or "it's" in place of "they" or "theirs" like the following ones?

Each child played with it's parent.

Every client got a care package delivered to it.

If it's possible, Isn't it uncommon or odd, somehow?

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    Its doesn't work because we don't use it to refer to humans (even to the little ones) Jan 13, 2022 at 12:59
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    "We recognise that each child has its own starting point upon entry to every year group and progress is measured in line with these starting points to ensure every child can celebrate success." - Coley Primary School, Reading, Berkshire, UK. "Each child has its own cot or bed for sleep time" - City Limits Child Care, Hamilton, New Zealand. Jan 13, 2022 at 15:06
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    There is no apostrophe in its parent, which is correct in British usage, but slightly old-fashioned (some people don't like to refer to children as 'it' nowadays). – Jan 13, 2022 at 16:14

1 Answer 1

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English has personal and non-personal pronouns.

It is a non-personal pronoun and sounds dehumanizing when you use it to refer to something that's a person. It is used for objects and animals that aren't pets.

Each child played with their parent.

This is what you want to say for this sentence.

Every client got a care package delivered to it.

This would be OK if the client is not a person--for example, if it's a company and you're talking about delivering packages to their front desk to give to the rest of the company.

Every client got a care package delivered to them.

So this is awkward because them refers to a group of things but every client refers to each individual X in a group of things. You should reword the sentence this way:

A care package was delivered to every client.

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  • This is advice about being 'human', not grammar. Jan 13, 2022 at 14:05
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    I do not understand the above comment or the downvote.
    – LawrenceC
    Jan 14, 2022 at 1:50
  • Is this true about the pronoun that? Jan 15, 2022 at 1:10
  • Yes. That is a demonstrative pronoun, but not a personal pronoun.
    – LawrenceC
    Jan 15, 2022 at 14:44

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