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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
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      • Hong Kong
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jan 2012
    • Posts: 358
    #1

    Cool using They to mean he / she

    I have come across this somewhere - instead of saying he is or she is (a bit clumsy), we can say they are, as in:

    Anyone wishes to enter the competition must complete the form as their information will be first checked by the persons concerned.

    instead of saying his/her, their can be used. This also applies to they are replacing he/she is, right?

    I, then, want to ask whether the following correction is necessary:

    A competitive teenager should be ready to adapt themselves to the ever-changing world.

    A teacher corrected it: themselves --> himself or herself

    Of course the correct is alright but is 'themselves' really wrong?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Member Info
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    #2

    Re: using They to mean he / she

    It's what I use. It is such a common usage that saying it's an error is unsustainable. In very formal language, you might be advised to use himself or herself, but otherwise feel free to use it. In legal documents and other specialised texts, it wouldn't be used.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #3

    Re: using They to mean he / she

    Or write in the plural about teenagers and you're all set.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
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      • England
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    • Join Date: Jun 2010
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    #4

    Re: using They to mean he / she

    I expect the gender-neutral singular reflexive pronoun themself will become more popular.

    Read about it here.

    Rover

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