As I’m sure you know by now, I love finding mistakes on sites that belong to “internationally famous” and “global best-selling” authors. Here’s a dandy sentence I just found:
This talk goes behind the scenes of some of the most beloved companies in the world to offer a blueprint for any brand or leader to find their voice, craft a better story, and share it with the world.
Why is this incorrect? Yes, I know it’s mushy, but why is it incorrect? Well, it’s the old bugaboo of international best-selling authors: the infamous noun-pronoun mistake, but this time there’s a little twist. To what does the plural pronoun refer? Well, at first blush it’s “companies,” since that’s the only plural noun within spitting distance.
But, not so fast. “Their” really is referring back to “any brand or leader.” Ooops! It’s the “or” that presents the problem. When two nouns are separated by “and,” they create a plural “unit,” in the sense that there are two nouns, which require a plural pronoun. But! When two nouns are separated by “or,” the verb and the pronoun agree in amount with the noun closest to them, and, in this case, the noun is “leader.” Singular!
But this is extra tricky, because you really can’t say “his or her voice” when you have “brand” in the mix. The work-around here is “…every brand and every leader.” One noun plus one noun equals two nouns: plural pronoun. You could also, I think, write “all brands and all leaders” and be correct.
As it stands now, unfortunately, that dog won’t hunt.