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56 comments

I hope someone replies explaining to this kid that while yes they can be used in the singular in English that is only correct if we don’t know the sex of the person. The teacher is correct in that they is improper in this instance. All this confusion about they makes me wonder what is happening to education requirements to take a second language. Once you learn a language like French where even they is “gendered” it becomes quite clear how ridiculous using they to erase sex is.

[–] SecondSkin 16 points Edited

They is correct if we don’t know the sex of the person and it is colloquial language.

Formal language unisex or unknown sex should be she/he or he/she.

One and only grammar rule I managed to pick up during my honours MA in English Literature because every single professor battered it into all of us by hauling us up in front of the class for lazy language every time we used they to mean the gender neutral reader.

They in formal writing detracts from meaning very quickly. Try reading (or writing) a novel/essay/play or whatever, with a group scene using both they for plural and they for the unisex character/person. Meaning disappears almost instantly.

I am no grammar pedant but this bugs the fucking hell out of me, because kids will write as they speak. Communication should not be turned into nonsense.

Try reading (or writing) a novel/essay/play or whatever, with a group scene using both they for plural and they for the unisex character/person. Meaning disappears almost instantly.

It makes it almost completely unreadable. As soon as there's more than one person in the scene, it gets you into this "Huh? Who are we talking about now? The enby or both of them?" situation incredibly quickly. That might be the saving grace of literature: that serious authors realize it's more important to put out work that makes sense than including virtue-signalling nonsense.

[–] Ave_Lucifuge 8 points Edited

This always tickles me. Someone on reddit always throws out examples like, "I talked to the manager, and they said they'd reimburse me!" They never pause a second to deconstruct the sentence and realize "they" is used because it's referencing the company as a whole/speaking on behalf of a group of people (or it's an unknown, like you are pointing out).

Everything, EVERYTHING about the gender movement is so superficial and basic, and THEY be acting like they uncovered some secret wisdom from long ago, when really it's just a bunch of kids and stunted adults making shit up as they go along.

Edit: nvm, looks like a few ladies down below beat me to the punch 😂 I do love a good grammer beatdown, though.

OP is apparently German, so s/he is already presumably working with a language that has a built-in masculine/feminine structure.