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Re: New Front Desk members

On Mon, Jan 31, 2005 at 12:11:36AM +0000, MJR wrote:

> I'm tired of this crusade against the English from our resident
> sexists, grounded only in the Sapir-Whorf *hypothesis*.
> If you would like some example genders switched to make a bit
> more of a mix, or avoided entirely, then fine, but please don't
> continue mangling plurals and singulars. It's confusing. In the
> worst case, people might think they group-apply to NM. Current
> English singular thirds are he, she and it. The common third
> has been on the way out for yonks: deal with it.
> By the way, can you substantiate that Shakespeare claim? To
> forestall the one in the Comedy of Errors, "not a man" =
> "no men", which is a plural, so "their" can be accurate. Many
> alleged examples of the "singular their" are zero rather than
> singular and yet more are indefinite numbers.

Bollocks [1]. Randomly switching genders all the time is *way* more
confusing than using "they", "their" etc.

"They" is in common use as a singular, and has been for yonks;
deal with it.

As far as the Shakespeare goes, in the context of "There's not
a man", "not a man" is clearly not = "no men". In fact, "none"
would be a more obvious replacement, and "none" is singular.

Trying to think of a more obvious example... how would you rephrase
"Imagine that you are in a dark room when you hear someone enter.
Having entered, they close the door behind them." without butchering
it completely?

[1] Seemed like an appropriate expletive, in the circumstances ;-)



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