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Of course, you can use plural they if you make all references plural. This is usually awkward and sometimes impossible.
Posted Jul 6, 2010 11:36 UTC (Tue) by nye (guest, #51576)
Possibly you should have looked it up before proceeding.
When you talk about using the 'plural they', you are of course obliquely referring to the fact that 'they' remains morphologically plural in all (correct) uses, however its usage to refer to a singular subject is well established.
It has been the preferred style for decades, an accepted style for centuries, and an existing style in English since so long ago that the language is barely recognisable.
If you can present an example sentence where using 'he' or 'she' is grammatically correct, but 'they' is not, then I would be interested to hear it.
Posted Jul 6, 2010 11:56 UTC (Tue) by farnz (guest, #17727)
"Singular they", as used by authors from Shakespeare onwards, is things like "they see fit" and "they merge a patch". It's simply the same pattern as "singular you"; or art thou one of the people who insisteth that "you" must be reserved for the plural form, and who joketh about "you sees fit" and "you merges a patch"?
Posted Jul 20, 2010 17:10 UTC (Tue) by pdundas (subscriber, #15203)
I joke / thou jokest / he joketh, et ceterea...
Posted Jul 20, 2010 17:17 UTC (Tue) by pdundas (subscriber, #15203)
Posted Jul 6, 2010 23:49 UTC (Tue) by csamuel (✭ supporter ✭, #2624)
Posted Jul 16, 2010 7:48 UTC (Fri) by dododge (subscriber, #2870)
For further reading they reference Jespersen's "Progress in Language", which discusses it in more detail and gives many more examples. You can find scans of the 1909 2nd edition at books.google.com, with the relevant text in section 24 on pages 27-30.
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