Answering another question, I used the following phrase:
Your reader is [...], but they are a busy person.
I have two difficulties here:
- In the first phrase, a reader, being singular noun, certainly implies is;
- In the second phrase, they, being a plural pronoun (regardless that it refers a single person), still requires are, but are implies the plural for busy persons which sounds awkward (a reader ⇆ persons);
Obviously, if I used "...but he is a busy person", everything works fine, but I'm trying to use a gender-agnostic form.
What is the proper number agreement here?