Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

USAGE: English Usage: "THEY"

From:Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 19, 2004, 22:46
 I came across a strange usage of the word "they" in
my speach today.

 I was speaking to my father, saying:

  "I was reading Frankenstein the other day, and they
talk a lot about electricity in the introduction to
this version"

  This got me to thinking about the word "they", and
how I use it. I often say things like:

 "My friend and I were going down to the store. They
like to get something to eat after class"  (or
something like that.

The second example makes more sense to me somehow.
"They" here, indicates to me that I was trying to
conceal the gender of the friend, or at least downplay
its importance. It's kind of an epicene pronoun I

The Frankenstein example is weird though. Why would I
conceal the gender of an inanimate object?  Was I
referring to the editors/introduction
writers/author/who?  I think, I was using "they" here
as a kind of abbreviation of some sort.

Here's the example again with something like what I
may have been thinking:  "I was reading Frankenstein
the other day, and both Mary Shelly in parts of the
book, Percy Shelly at times in his life, and the
Authors of the Introduction seem to talk a lot about
electricity [in the introduction to this version]"

I guess I was using "They" as ...somehow referring
back to the book Frankenstein and its ongoing creation
as a ..sort of entity in and of itself.

 Weird huh?

 Any other explanations that people might have? Do
other people have weird ways of using "they"?


Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...>
Michael Poxon <m.poxon@...>