After only two weeks of using the "Summertime & the Livin' Is Easy" headline I'm bored of it. So expect new headlines as we continue throughout the summer (or until I'm bored) with back-to-basics tips.
Summer back-to-basics tip # 5: pronouns
Companies, NGOs, associations, countries, cities, schools, political parties, think tanks, charities, restaurants, etc., may be composed of many people, but when referring to any of them as a single entity, it’s a singular noun, even if it ends in the letter s. So while the first time you refer to it you’ll no doubt call it by its name – the Girl Scouts, National Governors Association, Microsoft – on second reference it’s an it, not a them or a they or a their.
Think about it: you’d never write “IBM are going to move into new offices,” you’d write “IBM is going to move into new offices.” You know instinctively that IBM is a single entity requiring a singular verb (is). Yet for some reason people don’t make the same intuitive connection when referring to that entity on second and third references. They write “IBM is going to move into their new offices.”
Just remember, a single noun requires a single pronoun.
Summer back-to-basics tip # 6: more pronouns
We’d never say or write, “Be sure to call I at home,” yet the minute another person is involved we’re not sure if it’s “ be sure to call Miranda and I at home " or "be sure to call Miranda and me at home."
Here’s a fail-safe solution: Just remove the other person (ciao, Miranda) or thing from the sentence. In other words, send Miranda packing and what are you left with? "Be sure to call me at home." Ah, so it’s “be sure to call Miranda and me at home.”
This trick works just as well with other pronouns, like she, her, etc. “Grandfather left Osgood and (me? I?) his estate.” Remove Osgood, so it’s “Grandfather left me his estate.”