[Mailman-i18n] was vs. they

Barry Warsaw barry at python.org
Mon Jul 21 03:21:43 EDT 2003

On Fri, 2003-07-11 at 12:20, Mikhail Sobolev wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 10, 2003 at 10:07:44AM -0700, Ben Gertzfield wrote:
> > This is not technically correct English, but it's a very common usage. 
> > 
> > Since there is no gender-neutral way in English to refer to a person 
> > whose gender is unknown (in this case, the owner of the email address) 
> > the word "they" in a singular sense is often used for this purpose.
> I think that the classical grammar suggests that "she" is the right
> replacement.  While in the modern English, this "gender-neutral" "she"
> tends to be replaced with "they".
> Disclaimer. I am not a native speaker, that's what I was said by a
> English teacher. :))

I find it very awkward when "she" is used in a gender-neutral way in
English.  I know this was a fad at one time, but to me it's very
jarring.  "They" is probably the best we've got for English.


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