So, I was on facebook, and i came across this status some guy had put up. It read, and I quote "When the person you're with tries their hand at writing and aces it."

So, I was wondering whether it'd be "....writing and ace it" instead of "Aces it"

  • Possible duplicate of Grammatical number agreement in a complex phrase using singular "they"
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 22:14
  • @ColleenV: I suspect there are some aspects not well explained in the answer there that apply only in a case like this. A quick reading of Jim's otherwise good answer would suggest that "ace it" would be correct here… but that's certainly not the case. Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 22:40
  • @NathanTuggy Actually I was mislead by the title (or probably I was looking for a duplicate and got confused about which one I meant to close as a duplicate- it's been a long day). I've retracted my CV.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


The subject of the sentence is singular, "person", so "tries" and "aces" is appropriate.
The use of "their" is to keep the sentence gender neutral.

  • They (we don't know the gender of the person) did it themself, or they did it themselves? Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 22:28
  • "Themselves" is more common, but you do find "themself". "Themself" occurs 1552 times in GloWbE as against 432954 of "themselves" (but of course most of the latter are actually plural: I can't think of a way to count singular instances)
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 22:36
  • "They did it all by themself", "The person did it all by themself" is becoming more popular especially with gender neutrality. "The person did it all by themselves" is used in more formal writing. Clearly, "The team did it all by themselves." is obvious. Further explanation here.
    – Peter
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 22:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .