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Old 08-28-2012, 09:20 PM   #102
gmw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WT Sharpe View Post
[...](1) Several posters have pointed out that there is historical precedent for using "they" in a singular sense. I donít dispute that, but I would say that in my experience it seems foreign to pre-feminist 20th century thinking.[...]
But, is your experience perhaps biased by your education? The link that I noted earlier speaks of "Up to the 1960s at least English teachers conducted campaigns against the use of they in such contexts as: Everyone has their off days.". And even now highly educated people appear to hold very strong feelings on the subject (such as those comments you posted from Professor Dorsey Armstrong) despite the long-standing evidence that things are - at the very least - not so cut and dried as they might want.

There are some contexts where "they" feels wrong to me too, but I can't help wondering how much this has to do with my educational indoctrination. I imagine that any new word invented for this particular purpose would also feel wrong to me when I stumbled over it in a sentence. If a word is going to fill this void, then surely it will be better if it's a word that has already been doing the job (in at least some instances) for hundreds of years.

(Of course the language will evolve as it wants regardless of this thread, but I am pleased to see that "they" is where things seem to be headed right now.)
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