What a complete Burke! — 8 Comments

  1. “a person may agree if they so wish”

    Could that plural be OK because in the real world it allows for more than one person to agree from a group of persons? Or could it be that the corect language should be either ‘persons may… or ‘he or she’ in place of ‘they’? Each option carries slightly different meaning

    I’m just pleased I grew up with english and never had to try and learn it as a second language ‘cos it’s a tricksy structure! I’m also pleased not to live next door to the Burke family.

    • My preference would be for the “he or she” construct, and it is the one I would tend to use. Equally I could use “people may agree if they so wish”. Either of those avoids the use of a singular “they”. I agree totally about the English language. It lacks rhyme nor reason in so many ways. I do feel sorry for anyone trying to learn it from scratch.

  2. OTOH…

    A “confused” school kid insists on being called “they” instead of he or she.

    Teaches says “don’t be silly, I’m not going to do that. Now sit down and stop disrupting my lesson”

    The school, instead of supporting the teacher, insists that the teacher does what the child demands. Teacher must say “they” and not he or she. That’s what’s known as compelled speech. When teacher refuses, school applies disciplinary procedure and then goes to courts to enforce this.

    Court, instead of saying “don’t be silly, teacher is there to teach, and teach correct grammar amongst other things, tell the child to be quiet and learn” applies the full force of the law including jailing teacher.

    We’ve seen this sort of thing before. It was popular in China during the Cultural Revolution…

    • Spot on. However there seems to be little regard for teaching grammar these days judging by what I hear on television.

  3. In my humble opinion a person may be permitted the use of “they/them” pronouns if certified with Schizophrenia.


    • Good point. Though if that person were to refer to himself [or herself] then “we” is acceptable but I would still refer to the person by gender,

      This is all getting too complicated!

      • “Though if that person were to refer to himself [or herself] then “we” is acceptable.”

        Only in the case of royalty.

  4. Whether true or not, I was once told that the only language more difficult to learn to speak properly than English is Mandarin Chinese.

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