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'he or she' vs 'they'


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For sentences like:

If a student receives a perfect score, he or she/they will get a star.

Since english doesn't have a third person gender neutral singular pronoun, I find it easier to use 'they' despite it being plural because using 'he or she' just sounds clumsy. What about you? Would you use 'he or she' or 'they' in sentences such as the one above?

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'They' is a pretty good term for gender neutral stuff since I've heard a lot of people getting offended is you misgender them. I'm not really sure if that's a thing, but you can't go around being a jerk without at least taking into consideration that stuff. If a sex of a person isn't previously declared, I tend to use 'they'.

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Actually, this very same thing was explained to me buy my boyfriend who studied English language (just like I did) in Florida, from a very intelligent professor, and he claims that using 'they' or even 'them', referring to the third person singular, is just plain incorrect and not grammatical. He says one should always use he or she, but I am just saying this in case you use 'them', for instance: 'If you have someone that still texts you even when you haven't replied for ours (or if he still texts you..), while you still ignore them ...', them here is used as a generic plural pronoun.

I think there is a great website that can explain this better for you

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I think it's purely a matter of opinion, and it's been used enough to say that either way is grammatically acceptable. I personally find it intolerable, so I never use "they/them" even for indefinite pronouns. It's a good question to measure someone's linguistic thought process and opinion.

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This approach is inclusive of both males and females and works perfectly well in a single sentence, but it can become cumbersome and unwieldy if you have to keep repeating ‘his or her’ or ‘he or she’ in the same piece of writing. 

Is he or she marked out as middle class if he or she opts for a pair of Hunters? 

This can be a good solution, but it won’t always work (as with the second example, which can only refer to a singular therapist): 

If you’re allergic to oils or perfumes, remind your therapists before they lay hands on you.

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On 12/23/2015, 7:13:51, JasleenKaur said:


This approach is inclusive of both males and females and works perfectly well in a single sentence, but it can become cumbersome and unwieldy if you have to keep repeating ‘his or her’ or ‘he or she’ in the same piece of writing. 

Is he or she marked out as middle class if he or she opts for a pair of Hunters? 

This can be a good solution, but it won’t always work (as with the second example, which can only refer to a singular therapist): 

If you’re allergic to oils or perfumes, remind your therapists before they lay hands on you.

In the first example you could say "Is one marked out as middle class if he or she opts for a pair of Hunters?"
Alternatively—and this could work for both examples—you could choose to just use "he" and treat it as neuter, which has been my solution. That's a method that's been used all over the place for a long time and it works just fine. I think that's the solution.

Example: "If someone can't sing, should he be in the choir?"

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On 12/25/2015, 6:30:37, Mechanic1c said:

In the first example you could say "Is one marked out as middle class if he or she opts for a pair of Hunters?"
Alternatively—and this could work for both examples—you could choose to just use "he" and treat it as neuter, which has been my solution. That's a method that's been used all over the place for a long time and it works just fine. I think that's the solution.

Example: "If someone can't sing, should he be in the choir?"

Yup, i agree with your comment. 

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I may use either of the words to avoid repeating one word throughout my message or text. I also think that he/she can be used when we have one male and one female. If we use 'they' then we may be comparing many people and there may be no need of saying the exact number. But I think that the words are grammatically correct. 

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There is a move in English to use "they" as third person gender neutral. It sounds better and while there are many people who claim that they should only be a plural pronoun, the other options for third person gender neutral are either clumsy (he or she) or sexist (he). Apparently "they" has been used as a gender neutral pronoun 200 years ago in English and then there was a movement to make it plural only. According to my friends Jane Austen would use "they". 

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I prefer to use "they" when referring to either men or women, boys or girls. Way I look at is "they" is more like a reference to people in general. They can be either male or female.

Another gender neutral pronoun which can be used in place of "they" is s/he.

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