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  1. #1
    gonghoujun is offline Member
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    Question What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Dear Teachers,
    There is a sentence here: A good time was had by all.
    Then, what is the meaning of "A good time was had by all"? Explain the structure of this sentence, please.
    Thanks.
    G.

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by gonghoujun View Post
    Dear Teachers,
    There is a sentence here: A good time was had by all.
    Then, what is the meaning of "A good time was had by all"? Explain the structure of this sentence, please.
    Thanks.
    G.
    That sentence is in the passive tense.
    It means that 'Everyone (had a good time)(enjoyed themself).

  3. #3
    gonghoujun is offline Member
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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Dear Teacher 2006,
    Thank you very much for your kind help and good reply!

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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    That sentence is in the passive tense.
    It means that 'Everyone (had a good time)(enjoyed themself).
    Shouldn't that be either "himself" or "themselves"?

  5. #5
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manitoulin View Post
    Shouldn't that be either "himself" or "themselves"?
    Traditionally "himself" was used when a singular pronoun was required, but now some people consider its use sexist. On the other hand, "themselves" is plural.

    "themself" is nonstandard and its use is criticized, but it is being used by some to try to solve the problems with the other two choices.

    There is no perfect solution.

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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    I have observed that everyone can be used like a grammatical plural, just like some nouns like police etc.

  7. #7
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manitoulin View Post
    I have observed that everyone can be used like a grammatical plural, just like some nouns like police etc.
    "everyone" is singular!
    Everyone is here.

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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    CNN.com - Transcripts
    "everyone has their role, everyone has their timing, there are even backups to the backups. "

    China Digital Times cnn
    “Everyone has their own point of view,” Jin said. But she said, addressing the protesters, “Your actions are wrong.”

    Inside Cable News :: More on the CNN leaker firing… :: October :: 2005
    "...but everyone has their own policy about that sort of thing. "

    These and lots of other publications use it as a plural. ;)

  9. #9
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manitoulin View Post
    CNN.com - Transcripts
    "everyone has their role, everyone has their timing, there are even backups to the backups. "

    China Digital Times cnn
    “Everyone has their own point of view,” Jin said. But she said, addressing the protesters, “Your actions are wrong.”

    Inside Cable News :: More on the CNN leaker firing… :: October :: 2005
    "...but everyone has their own policy about that sort of thing. "

    These and lots of other publications use it as a plural. ;)
    They are not saying "everyone" is plural. They are just avoiding using his and/or her; so they use their.
    You could also say things like 'Everyone has a point of view.'

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    Default Re: What is meaning of "A good time was had by all"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    They are not saying "everyone" is plural. They are just avoiding using his and/or her; so they use their.
    You could also say things like 'Everyone has a point of view.'
    Their is plural, right? So they do use everyone as a plural noun.
    Of course it is also possible to use it with the singular, I never meant to say anything else.

    Let's go back to the start - the posting "Everyone ... (enjoyed themself)"
    Now here is a sort of schizophrenic way of not wanting to make up your mind whether you want singular or plural - them being plural and self being singular. It seems to be general non-standard usage (esp. US?) but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who's learning the language and is not a native. Actually I wouldn't use it even if I was a native speaker. I would go for either "Everyone enjoyed himself" - risking to be sexist ;) - or "Everyone enjoyed themselves".

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