Is there any such thing as noun pronoun proximity?

I have read of Concord (or noun-verb agreement) and was wondering if, is as I have been told, there is a similar grammar rule for noun-pronoun agreement/proximity. When there’s a sentence where two nouns are given and a pronoun used, to which noun will the pronoun be assigned? Carol visited Mary. Mary is the lady … Read more

Mayoral Pronoun; it or he/she

Recently I have heard both of the following sentences: The previous mayor was a woman, wasn’t she? The mayor is male, isn’t it? These seem to me to bear a gender contradiction here; "the mayor" and "the previous mayor" are both non-gendered rôles, but the people whom I overheard in the pub were quite happily … Read more

Can a pronoun and its referent have different plurality?

My question is as the title says: Is it allowed for a pronoun and its referent to have different plurality? A specific example I am considering is a sentence like this: I love this cookie so much that I bought dozens of them and distributed them to my friends. I am curious whether this kind … Read more

Referring to something belonging to a goblin: is it “its” thing or “his” thing?

I’m writing tutorial for fantasy game with said goblin acting as an example. Now, I need to relate to the thing belonging to that goblin, let’s say it’s an apple. Is it his apple or its apple? Shall I treat mythological creature as a human or as an animal? Answer The choice depends on whether … Read more

Should we say “they are high enough as they are” or “they are high enough as it is.”?

I’ve heard on TV: “We really hope property taxes won’t be increased; they are high enough as they are.” Would it be ungrammatical to say “…they are high enough as it is.”? Answer Yes, that would be perfectly fine. The two phrasings mean basically the same thing, but with a difference in what you’re talking … Read more

Personal pronoun – Using ‘it’ when introducing a person

On the NPR radio program Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me ( Peter Sagal introduces the week’s panelists using ‘it’s,’ as in “She’ll be performing Friday at the Comedy Club, it’s Paula Poundstone.” I’m not sure it is grammatically incorrect, but it doesn’t seem appropriate to refer to a person as “it.” Wouldn’t it be better … Read more

Is “Is it a girl or a boy?” really calling the infant an “it”?

So, my boss comes in, railing that “English is a stupid language!” Since this is pretty much a thrice-weekly occurrence ’round these parts, I barely raised an eyebrow, and waited for him to continue. “Mary just wrote to tell us that she’s back from maternity leave, and I want to congratulate her and ask whether … Read more

Should a company be referred to as “he/she” or as “it”?

When a customer represents a company, not a person, and a pronoun is needed to refer back to that customer, should one use he/she, or should one use it? Answer It or they. Google buys more of our servers than any other company. They have bought 4,000 servers from us. AttributionSource : Link , Question … Read more

Why is “police” referred to using the singular pronoun “it” in this sentence?

With reference to this question Collective noun "police" — singular or plural? and as per my understanding police is always plural. But I got shocked after seeing police used as a singular noun in this article: Two days after the death of the 23-year-old gangrape victim, Delhi Police on Monday said it has finalised around … Read more