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"it
> 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?)
| \ 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" |
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