Post ( it ) ? ( them ) ?

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whl626

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Ron, I remember that you said ( it ) refers to the unknown. So it is not necessary to be in agreement with the previously mentioned object. How about this then

example : If you have any questions, please post ( it ) or ( them ) at www.usingenglish.com/forum ?
 

Casiopea

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If you have any questions, please post ( it ) or ( them )

To my knowledge a pronoun must agree in number with its referent. That is, the plural pronoun 'them' refers back to the plural noun 'questions'.

'any questions' is non-specific. 'them' is specific. It refers to 'questions'.
 

whl626

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Casiopea said:
If you have any questions, please post ( it ) or ( them )

To my knowledge a pronoun must agree in number with its referent. That is, the plural pronoun 'them' refers back to the plural noun 'questions'.

'any questions' is non-specific. 'them' is specific. It refers to 'questions'.

So ' them ' is more appropriate ? But using a specific pronoun to refer to something specific is a bit confusing to me :?:
 

Casiopea

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But using a specific pronoun to refer to something specific is a bit confusing to me.

:) Could you offer an example or two of your own? :)

Food for thought:

There are levels of specificity. Take for example the pronoun 'she'. It refers to a female being, the name or person of which we do not know.

For example,

1. She's coming to dinner. (Who is 'She'?)

'She' is a specific pronoun: it refers to a female being, but 'she' is also non-specific in meaning because 'she' doesn't tell us exactly who the person is.

The 3rd person singular pronoun 'she' refers to a female being, the pronoun 'he' refers to a male being, and the pronoun 'it' generally refers to non-beings, objects.

There are many objects in the world, yet only two genders. If we use 's/he', our listener knows we are making reference to a being. If, however, we use 'it', our listener knows we are referring to an object. That in itself makes 'it' a specific pronoun: it refers to objects, non-beings. But our listener won't know the specific object in the world 'it' refers to unless we provide it with a referent.

For example,

1. "It has four legs." ('It' could be a dog or a table.)
2. "Guess the animal: It has four legs." ('It' refers to 'animal')

In sentence 1, 'it' doesn't have a referent. It's non-specific in meaning. That is, we don't know what 'it' refers to. It is in that way that 'it' can be said to be unspecified or, to use another term, unknown.

All the best,

Cas
:)
 

whl626

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A typo :p. I meant ' something unspecific ' :p. As you said ' them ' is specific, and ' any questions ' is unspecific.

OK OK Give it to me straight. :p:p

" If you have any questions, please post ' it ' or ' them ' " ??
 

RonBee

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If you have one question, post it. If you have more than one question, post them.

There!

:wink:
 

whl626

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As Cas said, what question or questions are still unknown and unspecific. Is it possible to use ' it ' to refer to the unknown ?

Well I have a thread about it where I said ' them ' but being corrected to ' it ' about the unknown.
 

RonBee

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whl626 said:
As Cas said, what question or questions are still unknown and unspecific. Is it possible to use ' it ' to refer to the unknown ?

Well I have a thread about it where I said ' them ' but being corrected to ' it ' about the unknown.

You certainly can use it to refer to the unknown. People do it all the time. (I'm afraid I don't understand the first sentence.)

:)
 

whl626

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Well, I just wanted to know if this is the sentence whether I should use ' it ' or ' them '

eg : " If you have any questions, please post ( it ) or ( them ) at .... "

( This thing has been bugging me for years :twisted: )
 

RonBee

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whl626 said:
Well, I just wanted to know if this is the sentence whether I should use ' it ' or ' them '

eg : " If you have any questions, please post ( it ) or ( them ) at .... "

( This thing has been bugging me for years :twisted: )

Say:

  • [list:c91c3c3eef]If you have any questions, please post them.

:) [/list:u:c91c3c3eef]
 
J

jwschang

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Casiopea said:
:grab:

You guys are all so very, very cute! I just wanna grab you up and hug ya'll.

It's so interesting that I'm going to add my two cents' worth (abandoning what I should be doing instead).

1. If I have understood it correctly, what Ron meant by saying that IT is used to refer to the unknown may be explained as follows.
2. There are two pronouns used for a very specific purpose in English: THERE and IT.
3. THERE is used to introduce a sentence or a clause where there is no available subject otherwise. E.g. There is rain in the hills (or: The hills are raining). One usage is when we make an observation or have found out about something: "There is a cat on the roof" is more effective than "A cat is on the roof" as an observation or discovery.
4. "There has to be a reason for it" (only alternative: It must have a reason behind it). BUT, here "It" is known, referring to something that speaker and listener are talking about.
5. IT is ALMOST similarly used. IT stands for the words following the verb (especially BE) where otherwise there would be no subject, such as existence of a situation or natural occurences (where the subject agent is "UNKNOWN", as what Ron meant). E.g.
(a) It is going to rain soon.
(b) It was very quiet out there.
(c) It looks likely that they will arrive early. (How to say: That they will arrive early looks likely!)
(d) It has been a long journey (to) there. (How to say: A long journey there it has been!)
6. The "Question(s)" and "It/Them" sentence raised is not a situation of an UNKNOWN subject. It/Them refers to Question(s) to be posted, so it's KNOWN what subject we are talking about; the actual questions to be posted are not known by the receiver (he/she/they haven't got them yet!) but I understand this is not what Ron meant by UNKNOWN.
 
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