Author Topic: He or she - a modern novelty  (Read 1126 times)

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Offline Matthew

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He or she - a modern novelty
« on: August 09, 2014, 04:08:53 PM »
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  • It used to be proper English to say:

    Quote
    When a customer comes into the store, he should find everything clean.


    Now, with our gender-inclusive, feminist modern world we say:

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    When a customer comes into the store, he or she should find everything clean.


    And many use "they" to keep things neutral:

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    When a customer comes into the store, they should find everything clean.


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    Offline Judas Machabeus

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #1 on: August 09, 2014, 06:23:46 PM »
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  • This is a pet peeve of mine. I prefer the generic "he."

    I think economy in language usage is almost always the best course.


    Offline Ursus

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 06:33:21 PM »
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  • How does this fly in languages where objects have gender like French and Spanish?


    Offline Mabel

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #3 on: August 09, 2014, 07:20:12 PM »
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  • I know. Unfortunately, some are so ignorant that the only way to communicate with them is to speak in such terms.

    Offline Matthew

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #4 on: August 09, 2014, 10:14:25 PM »
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  • Quote from: Ursus
    How does this fly in languages where objects have gender like French and Spanish?


    In Spanish, ellos is "they" (men) or "they" (mixed group).
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    Offline Marlelar

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #5 on: August 10, 2014, 12:35:13 AM »
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  • In formal writings I usually see "he" still used.  In casual writings he/she or s/he is what I have noticed.  Truth be told it is a non-issue for me unless "they" is used with a singular noun.

    When a customer comes into the store they should find everything clean.

    s/b

    When customers come into the store they should find everything clean.

    Marsha

    Offline TKGS

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #6 on: August 10, 2014, 02:39:16 PM »
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  • Using the plural pronoun to refer to a singular antecedent is not really a modern novelty.  It has been acceptable in English for centuries:

    "And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame, They wol come up . . ."  —Chaucer, The Pardoner's Prologue (c. 1395)

    " 'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, since nature makes them partial, should o'er hear the speech."  — Shakespeare, Hamlet (1599)

    "If a person is born of a . . . gloomy temper . . . they cannot help it."  — Chesterfield, Letter to his son (1759)


    The "rule" that the use of "he" is to be used as the only acceptable pronoun for a singular antecedent began to be established in the 19th Century in much the same way as the "rule" that one cannot use a preposition to end a sentence with [sic].  English speakers are merely reverting, unknowingly, to the way the English language originally developed.  

    The "he/she" construction, however, is crap established by the politically correct crowd.

    Offline Mabel

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #7 on: August 10, 2014, 05:13:14 PM »
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  • The only thing worse than "he/she" is "s/he."


    Offline Marlelar

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #8 on: August 12, 2014, 01:44:23 PM »
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  • Quote from: Mabel
    The only thing worse than "he/she" is "s/he."


    I like s/he because it is 2 less key strokes, and when you do a lot of typing those key strokes add up, why don't you like it? As far as usage goes I've always thought of them as comparable.  Six of one, half dozen of the other, both a bother.

    Marsha

    Offline BTNYC

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #9 on: August 12, 2014, 04:23:03 PM »
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  • Quote from: Judas Machabeus
    This is a pet peeve of mine. I prefer the generic "he."



    Thanks a lot for breaking the needle on my irony detector.


    Offline 2Vermont

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #10 on: August 12, 2014, 05:51:02 PM »
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  • Quote from: Marlelar
    In formal writings I usually see "he" still used.  In casual writings he/she or s/he is what I have noticed.  Truth be told it is a non-issue for me unless "they" is used with a singular noun.

    When a customer comes into the store they should find everything clean.

    s/b

    When customers come into the store they should find everything clean.

    Marsha


    Right there with you.
    "For there is not any thing secret that shall not be made manifest, nor hidden, that shall not be known and come abroad."- Luke 8:17


    Offline Mabel

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #11 on: August 12, 2014, 10:06:42 PM »
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  • Quote from: Marlelar
    Quote from: Mabel
    The only thing worse than "he/she" is "s/he."


    I like s/he because it is 2 less key strokes, and when you do a lot of typing those key strokes add up, why don't you like it? As far as usage goes I've always thought of them as comparable.  Six of one, half dozen of the other, both a bother.

    Marsha


    Actually, I find that it is used in things that are deliberately PC, like parenting articles that denounce "gender roles." That is why it grates my nerves.

    Offline OHCA

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    He or she - a modern novelty
    « Reply #12 on: August 12, 2014, 10:48:40 PM »
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  • Quote from: BTNYC
    Quote from: Judas Machabeus
    This is a pet peeve of mine. I prefer the generic "he."



    Thanks a lot for breaking the needle on my irony detector.



    I thought your needle broke and spun backwards when s/he told IF to stop acting gay.

     

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