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"He is the President / a doctor / a driver." — How to define whether "the President / a doctor / a driver" is something or someone?

My question (from comments under one of's answers): If we have the following sentence: (1) "He is the President / a doctor / a driver." Then, is "the President a ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 4,659
2 votes
2 answers

The Double Genitive with Animals?

Can I use the double possessive below as I would in, say, the phrase a friend of Bob’s? a bone of my dog’s a toy of my dog’s Are the phrases above, however awkward, still grammatical? Never mind ...
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers

"You will be the President himself." — The noun "President" is not someone but something. Then why is "itself" not used instead of "himself"?

the textbook "the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language", page 1497 (the link): (1) You will be the President himself. Am I right that "himself" means the gender of the subject ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 4,659
14 votes
2 answers

Who or what? Questions about animate beings

Which of the words should I choose when I ask about the meaning of a word that I don't know exactly but I know that the word I am asking about is an animate being? What/who is a king? What/who ...
Yulia's user avatar
  • 2,850
2 votes
1 answer

Can we use "that", "those", in a derogative way

Do you have examples of uses of "that" "those", etc... in a derogative way.
Quidam's user avatar
  • 599
0 votes
2 answers

its or his in this context? [duplicate]

Which one is correct: A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of its parent’s generation. A child born today inherits a world vastly different from that of his parent’s ...
Billal Begueradj's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer

"What on earth made/had you do that"

When are we suppose to use "made" and "had" in a sentence? I know that have is a causative which means 'make'. For example: He had me wait for five minutes at the shop. So in the same way can ...
EngFan's user avatar
  • 563
11 votes
4 answers

Is referring to people as "it" considered rude?

In Japanese, referring to people as "it" considered rude. Instead of "it", We say "that person" or information of the person (ex. a person who wares a blue shirt). In English, Is referring to people ...
ra1ned's user avatar
  • 629
15 votes
10 answers

Can 'it' be used to refer to a person?

I read a dialogue. It went like this: A: Is this your family? B: Yes, it is. A: What a big family! Is this your sister? B: Yes, it is. Her name is Linda. (I think this should be "Yes, she is") A: ...
Vince's user avatar
  • 695
3 votes
1 answer

Play-doh and they

You have five colorful balls of Play-doh. Would the pronoun "them" or "they" be correct? Collect all the doh and put "them" in their containers. Did you roll "them" into balls by yourself? Their ...
Joe Kim's user avatar
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