Q. Good day, fellow editors! The conventional rule about companies is to refer to them in the singular: “The company released its quarterly earnings statement.” Fine. But consider this: “The company’s recommendations are X, Y, and Z. I suggest you follow up by asking it these questions.” Or: “Company C shows it cares about its customers. We worked with it to demonstrate its commitment.” Those sentences just sound wrong. Surely you would follow up by asking them questions and work with them to demonstrate their commitment. So what to do? Refer to companies as “they” consistently? (Noneditors have a natural tendency to do this anyway.) Use “it” and switch to “they” where it makes sense to, but then end up with inconsistent pronouns? Your insight is appreciated!
Q. Now that Merriam-Webster has legitimized the singular “they,” where does CMOS stand on the subject?
Q. I’ve been told not to refer to the object of a preposition with a pronoun, as in “In the article by Frank Bruni, he claims . . .” Should this instead be “In the article by Frank Bruni, Bruni claims . . .”?
Q. I’m confused about the word neither. Is it plural or singular? How should the following sentence be written? Neither of them (likes/like) to travel.
Q. A colleague and I are pondering the correct usage of reflexive pronouns (CMOS 5.51). Can they be used as objects of the preposition if they still refer back to the subject of the verb? Here’s our example: “I see benefits for both my class and myself in using that approach.” We could rewrite the sentence and may do that, but we’re more interested now in the “legality” of the usage. Would switching class and myself sound less awkward? That way, myself would be closer to its subject.
Q. I’m editing an article in which the author interviews a transgender person who prefers the pronouns they/them. For example, the author writes, “During Harry’s senior year, they were one of five contestants.” Do I change the sentence to “he was” or leave it as the author wrote it to respect the politics of sexual transitioning? The article is published in a newsmagazine (not a scientific journal) for a professional association of psychological therapists.
Q. In a sentence like “the authors thank Natalie and Isabel for her editorial assistance,” is it grammatically correct to use the pronoun her and not their?
Q. Is it equally acceptable to say “My friends and I went to the concert” and “I and my friends went to the concert”?
Q. I’ll often hear people say “me and Kathy,” not “Kathy and me.” Shouldn’t me come after the person’s name? “Kathy and me,” not “me and Kathy”?
Q. What is your preference for expletives (as in CMOS 5.30)? I have been taught that “It’s important that you eat breakfast” should be changed by a vigilant editor to something else, like “You really should eat breakfast” or “Breakfast is an important meal of the day.” Are expletives acceptable or not preferred?