[Ads-l] Heard: "they"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun May 29 19:18:21 EDT 2016

On Sun, May 29, 2016 at 8:58 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>

> Maybe it's just the envelope. Its sex (oops! I mean "gender") matters even
> less.

True. But, in that case, the speaker could have used "is it" without
annoying even the most ardent supporter of the elimination of the last
remnants of natural gender from English.

Will ships also become _they_, I wonder? Maybe aircraft carriers, with
crews larger than the populations of many small towns, numbering in the
thousands, will lead the way.

"What time will the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan be docking, sailor?"

"_They_ will be dropping anchor around 1600 hours, sir."

Sounds natural.
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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