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Is using "they are" grammatically correct when referencing a singular person? Like for example, "They are going to go to the grocery store". If it's not then is using you're or you are not correct?

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  • I have corrected your spelling of grammatically and I suspect that you are referring to a single person rather than a singular one. Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 18:16
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    You should try to do some research before asking and indicate what you may have already learned and why you still need more help. "Singular they" is discussed extensively on the Internet, in grammar books, and on this site. Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 22:56

2 Answers 2

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If a male person is going to the grocery store, you can say 'he is going'. If it's a female person you can say 'she is going'. 'He' and 'she' are gender-specific pronouns.

If any of these are true, you can say 'they are going'. 'They' here is used as a singular, non-gender-specific or gender-neutral pronoun:

  • You don't know what sex they are
  • You don't wish to mention their sex
  • Their sex is not important
  • You know that the person does not identify as male or female

If you speak to a person of any sex, you say 'you are' or 'you're'.

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  • Thanks for the answer!
    – user152846
    Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 14:44
  • @user152846 - see edited answer. Commented Mar 11, 2022 at 14:50
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You use “they” absolutely correctly for a single person, in these situations:

  1. The person is quite likely male or female, but you have no idea which. Nobody saw the burglar, but they escaped with $10,000.

  2. The person is quite likely male or female, but it doesn’t matter in what you are saying. One hotel guest caused much damage; they smoked in their room and set the curtains on fire.

  3. We are talking about an abstract person. When a guest arrives, the concierge will pick up their luggage from their car and bring it to their room.

  4. We are talking about a person who for any reason doesn’t want to be classified as “male” or “female”.

Each use is grammatically correct, just like we use the plural “you” for a single person.

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