Thursday, August 12, 2010

Talking About a Company? Think About 'It.'

The folks at the popular tech blog Gizmodo goofed with this headline whose pronoun doesn't agree with the antecedent.  
Apple Hates Ads...Unless They're the Ones Selling Them.

Where did Gizmodo go wrong? This subject of this headline is Apple: 'Apple Hates Ads...' Apple is the antecedent of the pronoun 'they're.' An antecedent comes before the pronoun that replaces it. Apple is singular, so the pronoun must also be singular. The editor should have used 'it's' instead of 'they're.'

Quick rule: People are constantly referring to companies and organizations as 'they' and 'them,' but it's a lazy habit. Use 'it' instead.

  • Apple Hates Ads...Unless It's the One Selling Them
  • Apple Execs Hate Ads...Unless They're the Ones Selling Them

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