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  1. #1
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    Default he or she for "a person" ... ?

    Hello,

    I am new in this website and I really enjoy it.

    I have got a question about the gender of words like "person" or "someone". It's quite hard to know if it is better to use he or she, him or her with these words.

    Anyone could help me ?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    If you know the gender of the person in question, then he or she will fill the bill. If you don't know the gender of the person in question, then person or someone or somebody should serve nicely.

    :)

  3. #3
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: he or she for "a person" ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by slazzi
    Hello,

    I am new in this website and I really enjoy it.

    I have got a question about the gender of words like "person" or "someone". It's quite hard to know if it is better to use he or she, him or her with these words.

    Anyone could help me ?
    Traditionally, we have used "he/him/his" in expressions in which the gender is unknown. Some have taken to using "they/them/their/ in such situations, but that disrurbs the consept of number agreement. Often, pluralizing the sentence eliminates the problem. :wink:

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Like many, but not all, British speakers, I use 'they' quite happily for a single person. In BE, we have a much more relaxed attitude towards singular and plural than many Americans.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Like many, but not all, British speakers, I use 'they' quite happily for a single person. In BE, we have a much more relaxed attitude towards singular and plural than many Americans.
    You Brits are relaxed and on your way to comatose.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It's interesting the way American English has turned from the accelerator to the brake, while British English has done the opposite.

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    It's interesting the way American English has turned from the accelerator to the brake, while British English has done the opposite.
    I agree. I used to be very impressed with the British approach towards preserving the integrity of the language. :wink:

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