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See, “Ideologues can lie themselves blue in the face without changing the fact that, to those who know modern English as it existed until the cultural revolution and still does exist in many quarters, the neutral he ‘has lost all suggestion of maleness.'” Yep, back before the evil, scary cultural revolution of the 1970s, no one ever saw anything odd about gender-neutral breath for four minutes?Geoff Pullum came up with (3b), and I think it’s the clincher.Here’re these pedants crying about how English has to adhere rigidly to logic, and they don’t notice the one time the language actually behaves like a system of formal logic.The point is that singular by David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale.These sorts of ambiguities are common, even in edited writing, because the surrounding sentences give context to the ambiguous sentence.as a gender-neutral pronoun until you grow tired of people pointing out that it isn’t really. But you’re just making a fool of yourself when you go around telling users of singular .
If you’re answering (b), I regret to inform you that you hate the writing of C. The only problem with this view is that all you’ve managed to learn about English is how to get your brain to release some satisfying endorphins every time you blindly regurgitate some authority figure’s unjustified assertion.means “For all X, X returned to X’s seat.” The “X” is simply a placeholder that keeps track of the roles that players play across different relationships: the X that comes back to a seat is the same X that owns the seat that X comes back to.The there does not, in fact, have plural number, because it refers neither to one thing nor to many things; it does not refer at all.” And that’s the weird thing.You’re not helping; you’re just getting someone to pretend to agree with you long enough to shut you up.
Or worse, you’re scaring people into submission to a point where they feel compelled to preface their speech with apologies for any unknown violence their words are committing against the presumed propriety of the language.A list of examples from some such authors (including Chaucer’s and C. Lewis’s quotes above) is available on Churchyard’s site.Among the luminaries: Lewis Carroll, Walt Whitman, George Eliot, Shakespeare, William Thackeray, Jane Austen, and Oscar Wilde.Never forget, though, that language is the people’s.