Annotated article and 'singular they' quiz
1. Is it I or is it me?
- It was he, not she.
(On the phone) Hello, Mum, it's I.
'Who said that?' '(It was) him.'
'Who's that?' '(It's) me'
2. Pronouns after than and as
We're as well-educated as them, but they're posher than us.
We're as well-educated as they (are), but they're posher than we (are).
3. Singular they
If anybody wants more tea, can they just help themselves.
When a lawyer starts out on their career, they need to decide what they want to specialise in.
If the creative writer chooses their phrases carefully, success will surely come to them.
It's a bit cumbersome. Traditionalist writers will just write 'he' regardless. Conversely, some writers who want to make an anti-sexist point will simply say 'she' the whole time. Others religiously alternate between 'he' and 'she', which I find stylistically really annoying. Some have even tried to invent new non-gender-specific singular pronouns to do the trick, but not surprisingly they haven't caught on.
Click and drop - Fill the gaps by clicking on a word or expression (in grey) in the top box and then on its corresponding box. If you change your mind just repeat the process.
|1.||If one of the guests wants another coffee, just let help .|
|2.||Somebody must have forgotten to sign name; left the box blank.|
|3.||If anybody had wanted to leave early, have told us earlier.|
|4.||Somebody must have been in here. Look, left muddy footprints everywhere.|
|5.||Has everybody checked in?|
|6.||If any employee sees anybody suspicious, should report to line manager.|
|7.||Each member is responsible for making sure properly registered.|
|8.||Nobody should think that indispensable. If do, better change attitude, fast.|
|9.||Every government minister has own car and driver.|
|10.||If anybody passes target by more than 10%, get an extra bonus.|
References - Pronouns
- About.com good introduction to pronouns
- Grammar Monster
- The Blue Book Check note 2
- Pronouns EnglishPlus
- Linking verbs EnglishPlus
References - Singular they
- Motivated Grammar (blog) Singular “they” and the many reasons why it’s correct
- New York Times article in favour of singular they
- Common Errors Bryans at WSU
- World Wide Words
- Grammar Girl