Re: Bits from the WNPP: RFH tag
On Wed, Aug 04, 2004 at 12:31:07AM +1000, Ben Burton wrote:
> 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.
Nope, you have the same problem with both 'he' and 'they'. Both can be used
in a sentence in a way which is possibly confusing, and unresolvable by
context. "A group of people hassled a package maintainer. They told them
they'd be better off dead." Who told who? No idea. At least with 'he'
you've got a real singular to base your decisions around.