A Conversation for The Word 'Y'all'

Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 1

paulh, hiding under my bed

I really didn't want to have to bring this up,
as I usually like to let smiley - sleepysmiley - dogsmiley - dog lie,
but grammar was broached as an issue in the article, so....

I wonder how, in the first sentence, one hitchhiker
suddenly became plural? ("If a Hitchhiker were to ever find themselves travelling..."). Was there a sudden onset
of multiple personalities? Was a previously-unknown Siamese
twin discovered attached to the hip (or other body part)
of the hitchhiker(s)? This would attract attention, of course,
but I guess the natives would be grammatically correct in
calling the hitchhiker(s) "y'all". Actually, I wouldn't
mind starting the article with something like "If y'all
were to ever find that y'all were travelling in the
South..."

Also: if "y'all" is on shaky grammatical ground, then
it must be pretty much the same place where one would
find the British expression "you lot." Or using the
plural pronoun when talking about a company or government
agency ("Barclay's Bank announced yesterday that they
were going to..."). Ah, this must mean that all the branches
of that bank will be coordinating their activities smiley - smileysmiley - smiley


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 2

unremarkable: Lurker, OMFC, LPAS



that aforementioned sentance was an editorial change... i didnt have anything to do with that.... smiley - smiley


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 3

Crescent

My fault, and apologies all round, until later....
BCNU - Crescent


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 4

unremarkable: Lurker, OMFC, LPAS

no appology necessary crescent... smiley - smiley

consider it in the "never happened" bin with Rocky V and The 1986 World Series...


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 5

NMcCoy (attempting to standardize my username across the Internet. Formerly known as Twinkle.)

It's a common grammatical mistake. "They" is plural, (Yes, I meant the word "they", otherwise I would have said "they are plural") and should not be used as a gender-neutral term to refer to a single person. Grammatical correctness is sacrificed for the sake of political correctness. If you insist, use the phrase "he or she", or if you don't insist just use one or the other. Note that in some languages, like French, there is no gender-neutral term for anything, so nobody bothers with "political correctness" in that respect.


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 6

paulh, hiding under my bed

Hi, Twinkle and Crescent and Unremarkable.

I don't have a problem with ungrammatical constructions
when they are being used to make a humorous point
(As Fats Waller said, "One never knows, do one." smiley - smiley ).
In H2G2 guide entries, I am never quite sure where the
line is between the humor and the serious point.

And don't get me started on political correctness. smiley - sadface

"He or she" still works, unless you encounter someone
who feels the phrase should be "she or he." Another
option would be to go with all plurals, with the
understanding that they (the plurals) are somewhat
indeterminate. The phrase "Hitchhikers in the Southern
part of the U.S. might themselves" allows for the
possibility that there might be only one hitchhiker.
A third option would be to alternate between "he" and
"she" if there is to be a long string of pronouns.
(Personally, I would rather listen to Vogon
poetry smiley - sleepy .

There once was a Vogon commander
Whose verse contained terrible grammar.
His rhymes were no bargain,
They abounded with jargon.
To every bad impulse he'd pander smiley - smiley )


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 7

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

Then, of course, there's 's/he'... If I'm writing something and political correctness matters (I hate PC, but I'll use it when I must), I just change all the hes and shes to ones, if I can't pluralise 'em...


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 8

Martin Harper

I prefer sie/hir myself, as in 'sie knocked hirself out by banging hir head on the desk'. Everyone's different smiley - smiley


Siamese-twin hitchhikers with multiple personalities? :-/

Post 9

Martin Harper

Just to take issue with Twinkle, singular 'they' is valid English, and has been used by such writers as Jane Austen and Shakespeare. It's certainly ugly from a grammatical and stylistic point of view, but it's not necessarilly incorrect.

for more info, see Gender Free Pronouns - A753833
-Martin


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