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Thread: someone/them

  1. #1
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    Default someone/them

    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o

  2. #2
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    Default someone/them

    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Many use 'them' for a single person when we don't know whether it is a man or a woman. Some use 'him' and other 'him or her'. It's a matter of preference. I'd use 'them' in that example.

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    Many use 'them' for a single person when we don't know whether it is a man or a woman. Some use 'him' and other 'him or her'. It's a matter of preference. I'd use 'them' in that example.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: someone/them

    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o
    Hmmm. Which dictionary?

    There are differing opinions about using a plural pronoun in a singular use when the gender is unknown. It is widely accepted in informal English, but I am surprised that you found it in a dictionary. I would have used "that person" in that sentence.

    The enclosure of periods in quotation marks is also debatable. I would accept you sentence as is. Others in AE would insist that all periods must go inside quotation marks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: someone/them

    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o
    Hmmm. Which dictionary?

    There are differing opinions about using a plural pronoun in a singular use when the gender is unknown. It is widely accepted in informal English, but I am surprised that you found it in a dictionary. I would have used "that person" in that sentence.

    The enclosure of periods in quotation marks is also debatable. I would accept you sentence as is. Others in AE would insist that all periods must go inside quotation marks.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: someone/them

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o
    Hmmm. Which dictionary?

    There are differing opinions about using a plural pronoun in a singular use when the gender is unknown. It is widely accepted in informal English, but I am surprised that you found it in a dictionary. I would have used "that person" in that sentence.

    The enclosure of periods in quotation marks is also debatable. I would accept you sentence as is. Others in AE would insist that all periods must go inside quotation marks.
    it's a Cambridge dictionary... :(

    Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: someone/them

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Quote Originally Posted by bread
    The dictionary says that "fall out" means "to argue with someone and stop being friendly with them".

    Why don't we say him/her instead of them?
    Doesn't someone mean only one person?

    By the way, should I put the period before the close quotation mark?

    Thanks! :o
    Hmmm. Which dictionary?

    There are differing opinions about using a plural pronoun in a singular use when the gender is unknown. It is widely accepted in informal English, but I am surprised that you found it in a dictionary. I would have used "that person" in that sentence.

    The enclosure of periods in quotation marks is also debatable. I would accept you sentence as is. Others in AE would insist that all periods must go inside quotation marks.
    it's a Cambridge dictionary... :(

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    The punctuation is different in this area. In British English, we put punctuation outside if it seems to belong to the sentence not the quote, as here. Cambridge is, of course, a British dictionary.

  10. #10
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    The punctuation is different in this area. In British English, we put punctuation outside if it seems to belong to the sentence not the quote, as here. Cambridge is, of course, a British dictionary.

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