A Person Entitled to
the use of “they” to mean a singular has a long history in English, it
is still considered informal for written usage. Tell that to a list of
writers that includes Shakespeare, Chaucer and Dickens!
the use of “they” as a singular is already the most common and most
accepted usage in conversational English. Nevertheless, the grammar
texts universally condemn this usage in writing, claiming it creates a
confusion over how many persons are being referred to in the example
used as the title of this tip.
But does it create confusion?
Often, I find myself using a plural “they” in my worksheets or other
writing that will be given to students. In turn, I frequently find it
in my students’ written work. What I do then is advise the student
that, while I personally consider it acceptable usage (note the great
writers above), they will find that others (especially those marking
from a key) may not feel the same way!
So, each to their own ways when it comes to “they” as a plural/singular
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