Q. How good is the teacher at that school?
A. They're a good teacher. They just sometimes hit(s) their students if the students don't pay any attention to what he's saying, and then call(s) for parent-teacher conference.

Are we to use plural verbs with the singular they? It seems to me that with the first one, it should be hit but with the second one it should calls.

  • 1
    Since the question uses "the teacher", a particular teacher is understood, who has a particular gender, so singular they in inappropriate in this particular example. The second speaker knows the teacher so should use the appropriate gendered pronoun. – James K Dec 29 '16 at 9:02
  • @JamesK It's true for most speakers that singular they is inappropriate when the gender of the antecedent is known, but it's increasingly false for younger speakers. Eventually it will probably be unremarkable. – snailplane Dec 29 '16 at 9:11
  • Let's just say the answerer doesn't know the teacher himself, but has heard how they do things from someone else, who never mentioned the gender of the teacher. ._. @JamesK – lekon chekon Dec 29 '16 at 9:18