I have an easy question about the usage of expressions such as "They're so many..." (referred to an object). I've always said this, but a friend of mine, who is also an English learned, told me that I should never use similar expressions, because "They" refers only to people or living matter.

Who is right?

If I see some pictures, is it correct to say: "They're so many" or also "They're so beautiful" ?

  • 3
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with using 'they' for inanimate objects, ideas even. 'Those radiators have been there a long time. They'll get rusty.' / His ideas aren't cutting-edge – they're crazy.' // On the other hand, 'They're so many.' sounds highfalutin, unidiomatic (or literary). 'There are so many.' would be the normal way of saying this. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 18 '17 at 11:07
  • Thank you very much for your answer. I have an additional question! It's not correct to say: "They're so many", but what about other expressions like "They're so beautiful" OR "They're so stupid" ? Is it the same is we use them with objects and with people? – FriPat Aug 18 '17 at 11:45
  • @FriPat: The latter are okay. OTOH "They are so many" is an awkward form; you usually say "there's so many of them" - you may say "they are abundant", or "plentiful", but "they are" describes properties of these objects, and "many" is not a property of any of them. – SF. Aug 19 '17 at 4:57

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