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47 votes
Accepted

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

In my personal opinion, you should use 'him' and here's why: "If I were a cup, where would I hide?" Now, the subject is thinking of a hypothetical situation where he is a cup. Now, if that ...
Varun Nair's user avatar
  • 8,278
43 votes

What are the correct pronouns for referring to someone whom I have never met in person when the gender is apparent?

You should use she/her pronouns. It seems obvious to you that she presents as female so there's no reason you should use other pronouns. To use they/them pronouns would imply her gender is ambiguous, ...
Dapianoman's user avatar
38 votes

"If you see mistakes in my text, say <it> <them> <this> <these> <that> <those> to me please."

You can't ask the person to 'say the mistakes', because the object of "say" doesn't work that way. If you use "say" you should use an object like "say what the mistakes are&...
James K's user avatar
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20 votes

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

You should use 'him' as that matches the subject of the speculation, which is 'he.' The antecedent of the pronoun 'him' in this case just happens to be another pronoun 'he'. To illustrate: If ...
Brent Zundel's user avatar
18 votes

"If you see mistakes in my text, say <it> <them> <this> <these> <that> <those> to me please."

The function of "say" in this context is give information. This means the object of "say" must be information. A mistake by itself isn't information. You can't "say" a ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 51k
17 votes
Accepted

Is using "you" to refer to anyone, not the person you're talking to, a known, specific grammar form?

Yep. In the sentence that you mentioned, you is used as a generic pronoun. In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic you, impersonal you or indefinite you is the pronoun you ...
Aishwarya A R's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

What are the correct pronouns for referring to someone whom I have never met in person when the gender is apparent?

The general consensus (for the entire English speaking community) about the situation is at the moment in a lot of flux. Historically (Early to 20th c Modern English), if you've seen or heard the ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 1,961
16 votes

What do 'they' and 'their' refer to in this paragraph?

They and themselves would seem to refer to "children". There is no other third person plural noun it could refer to. It can't mean "we". Don't use "they" to mean "...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
14 votes

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

I stand corrected. I posted an earlier answer saying that you should use "she," (which I think makes some sense) Nonetheless, a corpus search shows that the correct use is not changing the gender: ...
Azor Ahai -him-'s user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Why "yourself" instead of "you"?

It is rather subtle, but using "yourself" like this is a marker of social status. The word "yourself" can be used to mean "you" in a in an honorific way. So it marks ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
12 votes

Is using "you" to refer to anyone, not the person you're talking to, a known, specific grammar form?

I agree with Aishwarya A R that 'you' is a generic pronoun, but part of the issue here may also be the use of the Present Perfect Continuous tense, because it is used to show that something started in ...
mike's user avatar
  • 9,853
11 votes

"The house has a cat in it." — Why is "it" grammatical? Why is there not "itself" instead?

For what it’s worth, in itself would be acceptable with verbs that were more active. Thus The AI system found a bug in itself. There, using it would change the sentence’s meaning to be that the ...
Paul Tanenbaum's user avatar
9 votes

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

Great American Novelist* Jonathan Franzen goes with the hypothetical in his 2015 novel Purity: If Colleen had been a boy, Pip would have slept with him. –Page 251, Purity: A Novel, published by ...
Alan Carmack's user avatar
9 votes

"Both the local authority and <myself> <me> <I> have gone to the minister." — Do all these pronouns work here?

The general rule is to use the same pronoun you would use if it were alone rather than part of a list. So in the subject position, you use "Mary and I have gone", since you would say "I ...
Barmar's user avatar
  • 3,378
7 votes
Accepted

Referring to oneselves in plural

It should be noted that we, our, ourselves aren't generally used with singular meaning. The use of we as a singular is called the "Royal we" because it is sometimes associated with the Queen. By ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 23.1k
7 votes

"more depressed than her/she"

Native speakers often say He looks more depressed than her. but the objective-case her is considered [has long been considered] to be sub-standard. The standard version is He looks more ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 130k
7 votes
Accepted

Personal pronoun (when the sex is unspecified)

There are lots of opinions about how to refer to a single individual of unspecified sex. When people sat down to write formal grammars of the English language (in the 18th and 19th centuries, if ...
SamBC's user avatar
  • 22.8k
7 votes

What are the correct pronouns for referring to someone whom I have never met in person when the gender is apparent?

You can use "she/her" to begin with given their gender is quite apparent to you as you say. If they correct you - that is they tell you not to use "she/her" and to instead use something they prefer - ...
AIQ's user avatar
  • 10.1k
7 votes

What do 'they' and 'their' refer to in this paragraph?

that they A new group comprised of our own children. may justify themselves The same group (our children) but now referring to that groups self. and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their ...
Patrick Hurst's user avatar
7 votes

"If you see mistakes in my text, say <it> <them> <this> <these> <that> <those> to me please."

I think other answers are correct in that "say" is not a very good verb to use. The verb that I (while admitting that I am not a native speaker, but have been learning English since ...
wonderbear's user avatar
6 votes

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

You would use "him". The word you pick is going to be the object of the sentence and "he" is part of the qualifier for the object so the pronouns should agree. To see this you can restructure the ...
Jake's user avatar
  • 190
6 votes
Accepted

Personal Pronouns and complement of verb be

In general in English, we use "I", "we", "he", "she", and "they" for the subject of a verb, and "me", "us", "him", "her", and "them" for the object. "I asked her", "They asked me", etc. When the verb ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 68k
6 votes
Accepted

How to understand the use of 'only' in this context

Only, in this context, is a way of emphasising that they will definitely grow stronger. It would typically be used when you know, or expect, that the people reading or hearing would hope that the ...
SamBC's user avatar
  • 22.8k
6 votes
Accepted

Is there such an expression in the English Language: "In them days"

Using 'them' instead of 'those' is a dialect form. Not all native English speakers speak the 'standard English' taught in language schools and in foreign countries, all the time. Some never do, and ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
6 votes

What do 'they' and 'their' refer to in this paragraph?

While others have correctly identified what the they/their refer to in a strict sense, a literal reading of the referents misses some subtleties in the rhetorical structure. The repetition of "...
R.M.'s user avatar
  • 932
5 votes

Use "him" or "her" in this sentence about a hypothetical gender switch?

The form of a pronoun is determined by the pronoun's antecedent. The antecedent is the word (or words) to which the pronoun refers. If he were a girl, I would have kissed ___. The antecedent of ...
David K's user avatar
  • 3,175
5 votes

pronoun after adjective

Advertising, exhortations, and other rhetorical texts often make a point of employing unusual constructions in order to seize your attention and make their points more memorable. There's nothing ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
5 votes

Be + nominative vs. accusative

As the accepted answer to the question on EL&U that @Lucian Sava linked indicates, both are now correct, because both are widely acceptable to English speakers. Unlike French which has the ...
LMS's user avatar
  • 5,562
5 votes

"more depressed than her/she"

He looks more depressed than her/she but I don't know the reason. In constructions like this, both forms of the pronoun are possible depending on its function in the clause, i.e. whether it is an ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 17.2k
5 votes

Personal pronoun (when the sex is unspecified)

Actually, past generations were taught to default to the masculine pronoun he. This is still often found in written English, especially in written instructions. You can imagine how much longer a text ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k

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