Date: Fri, 22 Sep 1995 14:16:40 -0500

From: wachal robert s rwachal[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]BLUE.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU

Subject: copy-ed re web usage urrl (fwd)



Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 23:09:24 -0500

From: "Keith Calvert Ivey" kcivey[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]


Subject: Re: "they" as the new gender neutral pronoun

Message-ID: 199509220307.XAA23057[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Jordana Kanee Signer jkaneesigner[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] writes:

Personally, I think that "they" should always take a plural

verb. Other languages that use pronouns interchangeably as

either singular or plural, depending on the context, always

conjugate the verb in the plural. E.g. "Vous" in French is

always conjugated the same way (root + "ez", e.g. "chantez"),

You don't need to go to other languages for examples. The

English pronoun "you" was originally plural only. Now it's

plural and singular, but the verb is still plural. I see no

reason to believe that "they" will behave differently if it

becomes standard as a singular. "They is" doesn't seem to be

catching on.

The only change I think likely with singular "they" is the

development of the reflexive "themself" (versus "themselves"

in the plural), parallel to "yourself".

Keith C. Ivey kcivey[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Washington, DC

English Usage Page

The Editorial Eye


End of COPYEDITING-L Digest 1088