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Dealing With ‘He/She/They’ Issues On Notary Certificates

Dealing with 'he/she/they' issues on Notary certificates

Updated 10-10-16.

Many pre-printed notarial certificates include “he/she/they” to allow the Notary to specify whether they are dealing with male or female singer or multiple signers. However, this can be confusing for the Notary. Here are some guidelines for addressing the “he/she/they” option:

What Notaries Should Do

In light of this issue, the NNA recommends that Notaries refrain from circling or crossing out this wording to avoid possible document rejection. Instead, to help prevent fraudulent alteration of a certificate, the NNA recommends that Notaries “line through” any remaining blank space on the “Name(s) of Signer(s)” line after the name of the signer or signers has been entered. This will prevent additional names from being added to the certificate after the notarization is completed and will achieve the same result as the “he/she/they” practice.

Correcting Certificate Errors

Lastly, if a notarial certificate wording contains incorrect information — for example, a misspelled signer name, an incorrect venue or the wrong date — it is still acceptable for Notaries to cross out the error, enter the correct information and initial and date the change.  Certificate error corrections in California must be made while the signer is present — California Notaries may not correct certificate errors after the notarization is complete, but must perform a new notarization on the document instead.  Always follow any specific instructions your state requires for correcting errors in notarial wording.

NNA members who have questions about Notary certificate wording being rejected can contact our Notary Hotline for help at 1-888-876-0827 or by email at

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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Ensure Your Certificate Language Is Compliant

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Add your comment

John Axt

12 Sep 2016

I have never thought that the crossing out of the words made the document any more secure or legally sufficient. There are all sorts of legal documents drawn by lawyers that contain such language. Others use singular or mulitiple references such as "I" or "We" and then define that they are either inclusive or exclusive in nature.


12 Sep 2016



12 Sep 2016

Is the NNA still recommending that a Notary add the words "No Other Signers" (when appropriate) on the "Signer(s) Other Than Named Above" line on the California Jurat with Affiant Statement form?

Joan A. Baffa

12 Sep 2016

Is this a nationwide suggestion or only for California notaries public?

Rosalind D Moore

12 Sep 2016

This is ridiculous! It has worked successfully for 100 years. It is quick and easy to understand. Does someone want to make a name for themselves by changing the form? Are we supposed to have different forms for he, she and we? (That would mean having three forms.) Are we to have blank spaces and fill in the blanks? Or, do they want to eliminate the gender all together? There is something else going on that is not yet known. I want to know the gender of the signer especially because names are becoming more generic and no longer define the gender. It may be very important in the future.

Ralph D. Wedertz

12 Sep 2016

We handle hundreds of acknowledgements, and we refer to the he/she/they and all of that other crossing out business as "old fashioned acks." Many lenders and title companies have recognized that fact also, and often tailor their acks to show the correct verbiage for each particular situation showing things like "their", or "his" or "her". The original thought that spawned the "old fashioned" ack was, that one ack would fit all situations. Obviously, when certain individuals or companies got persnickety, they wanted this or that crossed out in this type of certification. Now, it continues to turn into another garbled mess where everyone has their own interpretation of what they think is correct. In sum, I feel Roger has the best comment. Still, more nonsense for the notary to deal with. I personally will keep crossing things out until someone explicitly tells me not to.


12 Sep 2016

Remember folks, none of us work for the "for profit NNA". Continue to protect yourself and your career by striking out words that are not appropriate for the signers who are present. We are governed by the Secretary of State and must follow the rules in the Notary Handbook from our state, not the NNA.


12 Sep 2016

i am confused. Underline the correct pronoun or leave alone?

Lisa L. Frazier

12 Sep 2016

I created four separate versions of the form; however, all the wording stays intact. All I did is create an original version with everything and the other three versions have the "he," "she," "they" and if applicable the "(s)" lined out via the strikethrough option on the computer. So nothing is removed, just lined out automatically. That way, I can utilize whatever form is needed and nothing has been removed or deleted. Also, I always put a line after the person(s) name(s) so that no other names can be inserted!


12 Sep 2016

I think the NNA should go back and review their stand on this issue. Sorry, this is the non issue in my book. This works for everyone. Going to court and can't remember if man or women signed the book, are you crazy. Take a better stand (NNA) and leave the form as is. Why sign the book if you can not id man or women or they? Huh

Shelley Reeve

12 Sep 2016

This is crazy. I have even had written instructions from signing companies to "be sure to remember" to cross out and/or circle the correct pronouns when notarizing signing documents "or it will be rejected." Now they say the opposite? I learned to do this in notary class, for heaven's sake.

Courtney Patania

13 Sep 2016

For the State of California- I spoke to the Secretary of State this morning- They have not changed any of their laws and suggested we stick to the current law they have put in place. I don't suggest going outside the borders of the law.

13 Sep 2016

The Secretary of State has informed me that the laws have not changed and to continue striking and crossing out. The NNA is just a company and does not enforce Notary Laws.


13 Sep 2016

Based on an email from the Secretary of State, they suggest that I continue to line thru or circle. I think not doing it only increases chances for fraud. I have been lining thru and circling for 14 years and will continue to do so.

Chuck Argus

13 Sep 2016

Good points. The Acknowledgement I use has an Optional section where I insert the title of the document. I draw a line across the page after the title to make sure no additional documents are added after the notarization.


14 Sep 2016

I follow the state law not NNA recommendations...

Julie Brickley

14 Sep 2016

Great article and great information! Totally different how I was trained so thanks for clearing it up. We'll be saving that time and effort from here on out. Always something new to learn here.

Yolanda C. Buhay

14 Sep 2016

Where do I get new forms for notary? What form will I use for escrow loan signing?

Renee B.

04 Oct 2016

Personally, I will continue to follow what is shown in the Notary Public Handbook for The State of California until it says otherwise, or the SOS website states differently.

Judith Gottlieb

30 Nov 2021

Some documents have in the BODY of the writing he/she, I (we), is/are. Is it appropriate for me to carefully line out the improper pronouns or verbs before I have a Notary sign the document for me? And, is it appropriate for the Notary to cross out he/she in the notarial section when I sign? I am a female.

National Notary Association

06 Dec 2021

Hello. Only the Notary should make any corrections or fill in the information for the notarial certificate wording.

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