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Thread: It or They

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    #1

    It or They

    Hi,
    I don't know which pronoun is correct here? It or they?

    "To save energy, You shouldn't throw things away. Recycle paper, glass and plastic so that it or they can be used again."

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    #2

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by newkeenlearner View Post
    Hi,
    I don't know which pronoun is correct here. ? It Should I write "it" or "they"?

    "To save energy, you You shouldn't throw things away. Recycle paper, glass and plastic so that it or they can be used again."
    You've listed three things, so you have to refer to them with a plural pronoun.

    Note corrections above.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: It or They

    Since you are listing uncountable nouns, it is the better pronoun to use here as it substitutes the idea of something like 'this material'.

    they would be preferable if you were listing countable things.

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    #4

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    You've listed three things, so you have to refer to them with a plural pronoun.

    Note corrections above.
    Thanks.
    Why do in my book the pronoun chosen "it" , instead of "they"?
    I think "they" is correct.

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    #5

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Since you are listing uncountable nouns, it is the better pronoun to use here as it substitutes the idea of something like 'this material'.

    they would be preferable if you were listing countable things.
    That is what my book suggested.
    Thanks.

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    #6

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by newkeenlearner View Post
    Why does in my book recommend the pronoun chosen "it" (no comma) instead of "they"?
    I think "they" is correct.
    As you've seen, Anglophones may differ on some points. I see "they" as replacing three things, whose countability doesn't matter. Here's a similar structure: Store beer, wine, and milk in the refrigerator so they will remain fresh. "It" would look odd to me there. I may mentally replace the list with a phrase like "these items" which would demand a plural pronoun.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: It or They

    We get a lot of questions on this forum asking whether to use singular or plural forms. This issue can be the cause of much confusion.

    I believe that this is often because there is a discrepancy between the words we are using and the images we have in our minds. If we are imagining bottles of beer, wine and milk, we may feel compelled to use a plural, and countable pronoun, even if we have not said the word 'bottles'. Although I would be reluctant to call this an incorrect use, it is not strictly grammatical.

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    #8

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Although I would be reluctant to call this an incorrect use, it is not strictly grammatical.
    But you wouldn't say "Wine, beer, and milk is best kept in the fridge" (unless it were a foul cocktail).

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    #9

    Re: It or They

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    If we are imagining bottles of beer, wine and milk, we may feel compelled to use a plural, and countable pronoun, even if we have not said the word 'bottles'. Although I would be reluctant to call this an incorrect use, it is not strictly grammatical.
    I submit that any rule that says we should always use a singular there is wrong.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: It or They

    I would prefer "they" in this case.

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