Date: Fri, 22 Sep 1995 15:38:22 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: copy-ed re web usage urrl (fwd) >>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". Not just _themself_ and _yourself (sg.)_ but also _ourself_, for reflexives whose antecedent is the editorial or royal _we_: "We do not consider ourself above the law". Here again, verb agreement is obviously plural. Larry