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They WAS Re: Odd orthography)

From:Peter Clark <pc451@...>
Date:Friday, September 25, 1998, 1:27
---Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...> wrote:
> Talking about the gender-neutral "they", sometimes i find myself > accidentally using it as a *singular* neutral pronoun, complete with > singular-thirdperson verb conjugation, and sometimes pausing in the > middle of a sentence with a singular subject in order to "pluralize"
> by continuing using "they".
I don't use this accidentally; I frequently use "they" as a third person singular. For instance: "If someone wants me, they can find me in the library." Actually, that might not be a good example, as some might argue that "someone" could function as a plural. How 'bout: "If you go to the doctor, they can prescribe you some medicine." That's good enough, I think. Although would I ever use the third person verbal conjugation? No, I can't think of an instance where it would sound right to use a verb that marks the third person (for examples, walks) with "they". If I'm not mistaken, there is some historical precidence for this usage. (Old English experts?) :Peter == _____ _____________________________________________________ | \ O) ...for Christ plays in ten thousand places, ) _|__/ | Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his | / |eter | To the Father through the features of men's faces. | | | | -Gerard Manley Hopkins, "As Kingfishers Catch Fire" | \___lark (_____________________________________________________(O _________________________________________________________ DO YOU YAHOO!? Get your free address at