python vs c#

Tim Roberts timr at
Sat Oct 2 23:38:34 CEST 2004

Sam Holden <sholden at> wrote:
>Steve Holden <steve at> wrote:
>> This particular pickle is a disagreement of number: since there is only 
>> one village, the correct slogan should be "... is missing its idiot". If 
>> you thought it was "... it's idiot" then take two demerits and refrain 
>> from posting on for 48 hours.
>Their isn't necessarily plural so that isn't a problem. Since arguing
>grammar isn't something I can do successfully, I'll instead resort
>to an appeal to authority and say that one of the authors of 
>"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" agrees with me:

Two points.  First, that web page just QUOTES from "The Cambridge Grammar
of the English Language."  The page itself is just a blog, and everyone
knows that "if you see it on a blog, it must be true."  ;/

Second, "their" is allowed as a singular pronoun only in those cases where
a gender-specific pronoun is called for, but the gender is unclear or would
be sexist.  Instead of "Everyone brought his Python manual," we are now
allowed to say "Everyone brought their Python manual."

However, in the example that started this, "village" has no gender.  Thus,
I don't see that "their" is an acceptable alternative to "its" in this

I love this kind of debate.  I wish it didn't irritate people so much...
- Tim Roberts, timr at
  Providenza & Boekelheide, Inc.

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