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Subject:Re: use of he/she/they From:Horace Smith <hsmith -at- WT -dot- NET> Date:Fri, 15 Aug 1997 18:26:53 -0500
At 01:05 PM 8/15/97 -0500, John F Renish wrote:
>Scot Herron sez:
>>> Geoff Hart says correctly that one can always write around the problem
>>> elegantly without violating the rules of grammar, including avoiding the
>>> singular "they". Hear him.
Try using "you" and "the" constructions and avoid the problem entirely.
>>I agree with all of this except the word "always." And "odious."
>>You find singular "they" odious. Some people find the traditional
>>wording to be more odious. Both are widely held, but far from universal
>>opinions. Doubtless we will be seeing a lot both constructions in
>... thereby setting up a false dichotomy: I never suggested, nor did Geoff
>Hart, that generic "he" was acceptable today (although it had been for some
>centuries before the 1960s). And yes, I find the singular "they" odious
>it violates the rule that verbs must agree in number with their subjects. It
>causes the discerning reader to stumble and confirms in the uneducated or
>politically didactic a false "rightness". For the life of me, I cannot
>understand why anybody would employ the singular "they" while carefully
>avoiding such ungrammatical structures _everywhere_ else.
>>Finally, John F Renish quoted:
>>> "A gentleman never unintentionally gives offense."
>>> --John Paul Jones
>It's why I avoid "he" generically. Apparently subtlety is too fine a tool to
>apply to this topic.
>John_F_Renish -at- notes -dot- seagate -dot- com
>My remarks do not represent any other person or entity
>"A gentleman never unintentionally gives offense."
>--John Paul Jones
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Sr. Documentation Engineer
Syntron, Inc. mailto:hsmith -at- wt -dot- net mailto:smith -at- syntron -dot- com