Another topic

Otter Perry ottertee at
Thu Dec 4 10:48:04 EST 2003

On Wednesday, December 3, 2003, at 05:35 PM, Robyn Starkey wrote:

> The problem I have is that my students then think that it is okay to 
> use they even when the subject is clearly singular: "a student handed 
> in their homework."

It's all very well to be a purist about this, but it doesn't help when
you don't _know_ the appropriate pronoun.  Say you're doing
research.  You find important articles by J.J.Smith, e.g.  What
pronoun are you supposed to use?

I use 'they/their' if I can't get around it.  So I might actually write
'a student handed in their homework.'  I almost certainly
wouldn't write 'a student handed in its homework.'

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