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Old 01-18-2019, 12:49 AM   #46
Catlady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
Catlady, the difficulty is that singular "they" is only wrong in an ever narrowing set of circumstances - see the grammergirl link in astrangerhere's post. As you suggest, and as that article and referenced style guides recommend, rewriting to avoid the problem is a good idea when viable, but this becomes cumbersome and awkward in a novel (both writing and reading).
No, it isn't cumbersome at all. The example in the link "Tell the next caller that they won" (I believe that was the wording) is clearly something that would only arise in spoken English that's being quoted, or in dialog or first-person narration, in all of which cases it would and should be left alone--it's how people speak. It's not, however, something that should ever be written otherwise.

And if one wanted to be pedantic, even that sentence could probably be altered to "The next caller will be the winner"--slight change in emphasis there might or might not matter depending on the context.
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