86 votes
Accepted

Why is it "your" and not "yours" in "to see your on Amazon account activity"

You might be analyzing the sentence incorrectly. This is understandable. According to the standard rules of punctuation, Amazon should have added hyphens to assist you. If they had done so, the text ...
Jeffrey Carney's user avatar
72 votes
Accepted

Can "he" and "man" refer to all genders?

You are opening a "can of worms!" This is a topic that can cause strong emotions. It is also not a matter of grammar, but a matter of style. English doesn't have a pronoun that singular, non-neuter ...
James K's user avatar
  • 213k
56 votes
Accepted

Grammatical gender of the word "child"

Child is gender neutral. As a result, when referring to a child, one must then choose a pronoun he, she or they when referring to the said child, as English does not have a gender neutral way of ...
Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Can I use "they" to refer to my own skills?

As described here, "listening skills" is plural. So, "they" have improved a lot is fine. If your friend had said "your English has improved a lot," English would be ...
Mongoose1021's user avatar
48 votes
Accepted

Explain why "Who is she playing the piano?" is incorrect

You can use she, if you pause to make the meaning clear: Who is she, playing the piano? Without the pause, this is a kind of "garden path" sentence, because it leads you to a wrong expectation ...
The Photon's user avatar
  • 10.4k
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
45 votes

'We Americans like baseball' or 'Us Americans...'?

In these examples, "We Americans" would be the grammatically correct choice because it's the subject. Remove "Americans" from the examples and the choice is clear: We like ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 12.3k
40 votes

Can "he" and "man" refer to all genders?

Leaving aside current views on gender identity, historically, "man" has been used as an umbrella term for both genders - and it still is, unless someone objects to it. "Mankind" refers to all human ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 97.7k
38 votes
Accepted

it vs. this vs. that

The difference between the two based on the "Cambridge dictionary" article, is as follow (quote): "We use "it", "this" and "that" to introduce further information about a topic already mentioned. ...
Virtuous Legend's user avatar
37 votes
Accepted

How to deal with unknown genders in English?

If you want to sound formal and don't want to be accused of any kind of sexism or if you really don't know the gender of the person you're talking about, I'd recommend using the pattern him or her. It ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
35 votes

Why is the answer "it" --> 'Mr. Akagi was unable to buy tickets for the concert because it/they was sold out'

In this context, "sold out" can be used to describe tickets or an event (in this case, the concert), and so either could be the antecedent of a pronoun after "because". However, ...
Acccumulation's user avatar
34 votes

Explain why "Who is she playing the piano?" is incorrect

Personal pronouns don't want to be directly modified, especially in the subjective case. We naturally say things like "That tall girl is in my class" and "The girl playing piano is very good". ...
Gary Botnovcan's user avatar
34 votes
Accepted

When the Gentle Giant song "Black Cat" refers to a cat as "she", does that mean the cat is female?

In English, there is no grammatical gender that is different from biological gender. However, there is a tradition in what you call 'folk language' of referring to unknown cats as female and unknown ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 53.3k
33 votes
Accepted

Does the word God get the pronoun "it" or "he"?

The God of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, basically) is traditionally a father figure, and the pronoun used is "he" (or "He", if you're using the majestic capital). ...
Martha's user avatar
  • 5,295
33 votes

Can "it" refer to something we haven't mentioned yet?

The noun ("the game") has already been mentioned by the questioner, so it's understood from context that 'it' refers to the game.
Rob K's user avatar
  • 1,341
33 votes

What does the word "they" in this sentence replace?

It is technically ambiguous, but since the smell of the “muffins” generally will override the smell of “walnuts” as just one ingredient of those muffins, I would assume “they” refers to the former.
StephenS's user avatar
  • 8,109
32 votes
Accepted

Is referring to people as "it" considered rude?

English doesn't have the same kind of strictures regarding how to reference people as Japanese does. We don't, out of politeness, refer to people as "that side" or "next door" (the way my Japanese in-...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 14.4k
32 votes
Accepted

Can adjectives modify a pronoun like "rich they", "poor you" and "beautiful I"?

A good question! No, you can't (normally) put an adjective before a pronoun. All of your examples sound incorrect and non-fluent. But there is one way that you can correctly put an adjective in ...
stangdon's user avatar
  • 40.8k
31 votes

When the Gentle Giant song "Black Cat" refers to a cat as "she", does that mean the cat is female?

This cat is 100% a female. There are no arbitrarily gendered nouns in English. The personal pronouns "he/she/him/her..." are only used when referring to nouns that are gendered by definition,...
gotube's user avatar
  • 49.3k
30 votes
Accepted

Why can't I grammatically repeat the object with the pronoun "it"?

What you've heard is correct: "it" is a repeat of "that", and therefore ungrammatical. Here's why. Your sentence has two clauses, and they have a noun in common, "the ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 49.3k
29 votes
Accepted

Is it OK to omit the pronoun when we're talking about an action that's been done by someone else?

With the pronoun who, whose referent is anyone else, the sentence ends with a relative clause. If you omit who, it sounds as if it means this: I haven't found that anyone else had mentioned this ...
Jack O'Flaherty's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Refering to plural using it/they

'It' is the farm. Although it contains the ploughland, the hayfield, the orchard, the pool, and the spinney, it is still one farm. It is considered as a whole. You could replace 'it was' with 'they ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Is the following sentence correct: "Confirm that someone is who they say they are"

This is an example of "singular they". Here it is being used, apparently, to avoid the need to use a gendered pronoun to refer ro a person of unknown or unspecified gender. This is now a ...
David Siegel's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Should always use uppercase "I"?

Yes, in standard written English, we always capitalize I. From a Wikipedia page, I (and only this form of the pronoun) is the only pronoun that is always capitalized. The practice became ...
Damkerng T.'s user avatar
  • 27.2k
26 votes

Grammatical gender of the word "child"

"Child" is, indeed, gender-neutral. For a long time, "he" was considered to be both the male pronoun and the non-gender-specific pronoun (see Wikipedia). An older text would talk about a child ...
David Richerby's user avatar
26 votes

To take oneself's life is not an act of courage

In English we often have to use a reflexive pronoun when we have two noun phrases that refer to the same person in the same (immediate) clause. In this post, I use a small < i > to show that two ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

"Outside there is a money receiver which only accepts coins" - or "that only accepts coins"? Which relative pronoun is better?

In prescriptive English, "which" should only introduce non-restrictive relative clauses, those that are offset by a comma and aren't intrinsic to the subject, but give more information about ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

"Lily, not he/him, had planned the party" — Which pronoun is more appropriate?

In formal and scholastic registers, "he" is appropriate.  It is part of the subject of the subordinate clause.  The alternatives presented here are that Lily had planned the party and ...
Gary Botnovcan's user avatar
24 votes

Why is the answer "it" --> 'Mr. Akagi was unable to buy tickets for the concert because it/they was sold out'

"It" refers to the concert, not the tickets. "Sold-out" is often used as a compound adjective to describe an event that has sold every ticket and there is no more capacity. ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 97.7k
23 votes

Using she or you to refer to someone "as a little girl"

Both are nearly the same to me. The nuances are about perspective: The sentence that uses "she" is talking about the "the little girl" from the memory, almost as if she was a different person than ...
Senjougahara Hitagi's user avatar

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