Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Are the following sentences now proper English?

Have your child bring their snacks for his/her break.
When does my child wear their uniform?

I hear this language on a daily basis and it is driving me CRAZY!!!!

UPDATE: According to Henry Churchyard, this has always been proper English!!! "Recently, various new constructions or new words have been proposed to mitigate perceived English linguistic sexism; these are innovations, and must be evaluated as such. But singular "their" (etc.) is not an innovation, but old established good usage. So here anti-sexism and traditional English usage go hand-in-hand -- and those who object to singular "their" can find no support from history, linguistics, or the aim of inclusive language."

I think I'll be voting with the prescriptive grammarians who believe this construction is not in accord with the logic of the Latin language - nor any logic for that matter.

6 Comments:

Blogger Dan Lovejoy said...

Jan, you're right - and I'm a descriptivist.

Even if we're wrong - Why "his/her" in the same sentence with "their?"

12:21 AM, October 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you both have too much time on your hands!

7:38 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger Jan said...

ouch.

and so not true!

7:43 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger Dan Lovejoy said...

Wow, that's really one of my least favorite hackneyed cliches.

It's really just a way of saying, "Wow, that's really stupid and insignificant. How can you waste time on that?"

8:27 AM, October 27, 2006  
Blogger Jan said...

Oh, well. Anonymous had enough time on THEIR hands to read this blog and type a response to something THEY found stupid and insignificant...so what does that say about THEM?

9:07 AM, October 27, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a highly-paid private tutor for the SAT and other college admissions tests, and I am happy to inform you that all of the test makers who determine college admissions agree with you. Weatlhy parents pay me top dollar to teach their children that "each" and "everyone" are singular and "their" is plural.

So, just think: you're not a grammar snob; you're saving money on tutors for your children!

J.

8:10 AM, October 30, 2006  

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