Re: Bits from the WNPP: RFH tag
> > If a student falls asleep in class, they will probably absorb the
> > material at an inferior rate, and their exam results will suffer.
> The trouble with that, of course, is that it's gramatically wrong.
Bah. Language is a fluid entity -- the job of the grammarian is to
approximate the rules of the language as it is written or spoken, not
the other way around. Most languages are in a continual (slow) state of
> I know current sloppy thinkers proclaim "they" is singular. Nuts to
> them, says I.
Not sure what you mean by "sloppy" in this context, but it's certainly
not grammatical anarchy. The pronoun "they" is simply serving two
precisely-defined roles instead of one.
Moreover, I don't see how claiming that "they" can fill two roles
(plural pronoun and singluar gender-neutral pronoun) is any more absurd
than claiming that "he" can fill two roles (male-gender pronoun and
gender-neutral pronoun). In fact the use of "they" is clearer since
grammatical constraints on the rest of the sentence will generally
resolve the ambiguity, whereas with "he" you just have to hope that it's
clear from context.