I need to write an instruction manual in English at work. My problem is that I do not know if I should use a singular or plural noun. Let me give you an example.

Employees , who are unable to work due to a disability, will receive their disability benefits.

An employee (or any employee), who is unable to work due to a disability, will receive his or her disability benefits.

I think both singular and plural nouns work in this context. They are both making generic statements.

I would like to know what is the logic behind choosing one over the other.

Personally, I like using plural nouns because I do not need to worry about gender. I do not want to say "his or her".

  • 2
    Yes, both work in this context. If you prefer to use the plural, go ahead! Apr 25, 2022 at 13:20
  • Thank you! If there are any rules that I do not know, please let me know. Is this just a matter of personal preference?
    – user154167
    Apr 25, 2022 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


In this case, both work in this context. If you personally prefer to use plural nouns (In this case I'd prefer to use plural nouns, as it addresses the general group of people/public but there isn't much difference), then nothing is wrong with it!

Since you already made the changes accordingly to suit the sentence's tense, both sentences are grammatically correct and can be used. Otherwise, it is a matter of personal preference.

This Ngram viewer shows how "employees" is used more often than "an employee", but of course, this could be just because of different contexts that use these.

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