Question: Obtaining Government Approval

Comment on Obtaining Government Approval

What would he correct sentence be if we were to use Anyone?

Would it be:

Anyone who lives in a country where he/she must obtain government approval before starting a business should revolt

I'm confused about what we would replace "they" with, to make it singular in this context

Thanks for your help
gmat-admin's picture

Yes, that sentence would be fine. However, the he/she construction is a little clunky. Using the plural (they), is much nicer.

If we can use the plural "they" instead of "he/she" to refer to a singular noun, then wouldn't answer choice A be correct here?
gmat-admin's picture

I'm not saying you can replace "he/she" with the plural "they" to refer to a singular noun. I'm saying that using the plural "they" (to replace a plural noun) is less clunky.

For example, "PEOPLE who swim must ensure THEY stay afloat" is less clunky than "A PERSON who swims must ensure HE/SHE stays afloat."

Got it, thanks!

On a side note, in the sentence "A PERSON who swims must ensure HE/SHE stays afloat", is "he/she" the only pronoun that can be used in this context?

everybody is also singular?
gmat-admin's picture

Yes, EVERYBODY is always singular.
For more on this, see the list at 1:15 in the following video:


Hi Brent, what’s the difference between anyone and anybody ?
gmat-admin's picture

Great question!
Grammatically-speaking, the two words are the same.


so is it correct to assume that the GMAT never uses the singular usage of the word "they"? or is it a context thing?
gmat-admin's picture

Great question!
Presently, the GMAT uses THEY only for plural nouns.
Now that people are using various pronouns, it's possible the GMAT will either change their stance, or stop asking SC questions that test pronouns. We'll see!

This might be a recent development but there's a push to adopt gender neutral language, so instead of he/she, they is used in place. If GMAT adopted this convention, then option A would be correct right?
gmat-admin's picture

Yes you're absolutely right. A few years ago, I believe they removed a ton of math questions involving terms such as "boys" and "girls," where if you weren't one, then you were the other.

As for what the correct answer would be, your guess is as good as mine. Only 13 more days remaining for people to study Sentence Correction!

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