confusing person

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Senior Member
Hi everyone, could you help me check if I use right person in the sentence? Since the subject in the first sentence is someone, can I use they in the following sentences? Please explain if possible? If the way I use is wrong, could you offer corrections? Thanks in advance~

When someone holds reverence for God in their heart, are willing to take His will to heart, they seek to love and satisfy God, they focus on following God’s commandments, and they do their utmost to act according to God’s requirements, He approves of and blesses their deed;
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Your sentence is essentially:
    When someone does something for God, (then) He approves and blesses their deed.​

    In all honestly, listing five separate things that the person does makes the sentence difficult to follow, whichever way you do it. However, if you insist on this, then your sentence should have only two subjects; the subject of the "when" clauses and the subject of the "then" clause(s). The subject of the "when" clauses is "someone"; don't repeat it, and keep all the "when" clause verbs singular to match.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    UK English
    The use of they to refer to someone is fine, although I would write heart and is willing.

    Alternatives are less satisfactory: he or she is not practical, while he or she alone is inaccurate athough it would have been used in the past.
    Last edited:


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes, you can't use a plural verb "are" with the singular subject "someone".

    Using "they" as a replacement for the potentially awkward repetition of he/she is these days accepted as okay.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It's okay to change the subject from singular "someone" to singular "they", but even though this "they" is logically singular because it refers to just one generic person (introduced as "someone"), it is still grammatically plural and needs to use the plural forms "are", "seek", "focus", and "do". But you can't use the plural forms before you change the subject to "they". So your red "are" is wrong and needs to be "is", even though you have used "their heart".

    But notice that "is willing" has no explicit subject of its own (that's why the implied subject is still "someone"). If you don't need to repeat "someone" for "is willing", then why do you need a new subject for the other three verbs?
    I agree entirely with UJ's recommendation:

    When someone holds reverence ..., is willing to take ..., seeks to love ..., focuses on ..., and does their utmost ..., He approves ...
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