Avoiding "he/she" expressions.

GeneD

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Is it necessary to always say or write "he or she" or "he/she" when talking about an "example"-person (i.e. when it's not important to know whether it's he or she being discussed). For instance, in the adjacent thread (https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/threads/257509-quot-He-got-lost-quot-(-)), I tried to put everywhere "he/she" and "his/her" but gave up because it sounded too awkward to me. Is there any way to avoid this kind of expression? Or is it not really a problem to write only "he" or only "she" in such instances?
 
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Matthew Wai

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S/he.
They. Them. Their.
 

GeneD

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S/he.
They. Them. Their.

I'd like to avoid "s/he" too. :) But the other option might work for me. Is it natural to say or write There are sometimes situations when your interlocutor suddenly stops following you (that is, they don't understand you)?That's the very first sentence from the post I gave the link to.
 
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GeneD

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It turnes out Piscean has already answered my question in post #3. :-D Thanks!
 
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GeneD

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But just to ensure I get it right... Does that sentence sound natural (putting the pedants' point of view aside)?
There are sometimes situations when your interlocutor suddenly stops following you (that is, they don't understand you).
 
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bubbha

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You can avoid it by using the plural: instead of "every student must bring his or her laptop to class," you can say "All students must bring their laptops to class."
 

GeneD

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I think I've successfully changed that text following your advice except for one sentence. I'm still not sure if it's OK to change it this way. Would the underlined part be OK?
They either got tired or you are simply too far from one another in some way (for instance, you're an astronaut, they're a football player).
 
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GoesStation

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With the correct closing punctuation, I think that sentence is fine - including the underlined part. Many editors would not, I think, accept it, but I think in five years or so, nearly all of them will.
 

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GeneD

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I'd use it.
Are you referring to the sentence being discussed in the previous posts (#11 and 12) or to the expression "he or she"? I first thought it's the previous posts you are talking about, but then saw the name of the thread right above your post and got confused. :)
 

Tdol

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I was referring to the following:

you're an astronaut, they're a football player

I was responding to GoesStation's post. I don't think it is necessary to try to rewrite sentences to get round the issue- they is fine for me in any context when the gender is unclear or unnecessary.
 
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