“…reach their potential”, no wait “…his/her potential”


When coming up for a tag line for an advert at work, I inadvertently got lost in a discussion over the following phrase:

“Help your child reach their full potential”

To me at least, this is quite a normal few words to say. But a couple of the grammar hardliners were up in arms over it. That’s a bit of an overstatement, they made a comment how it was incorrect.

Turns out this debate over using “they” in reference to a singular noun has been raging on the internet for many years. One side citing Jane Austen, George Bernhard Shaw and The Bible for people use “they”. And then the purists claiming that despite this, it is still an infallacy.

I’ll leave these guys to sum up the debate: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2012/06/he-or-she-versus-they/