Regular Spelling
Thoughts on language and more


One of the lesser seen problems of English's pronouns - a problem not as glaring as our lack of a singular gender-neutral pronoun - is the fact that they aren't indicative of who they are referring to. You can use the same pronoun to refer to more than one person, which, when used in succession, doesn't make it easy to follow who exactly you're talking about. Or, someone could trip up if you use it in a fashion that's only referring to one person, when they expect it to be referring to more than one person. Such is the case of a statement from Notebook Forums today:

*points Nyako to where her local utility company sells their rolling wrecks*

The mistake here was that one person thought the 'her' was referring to the poster, in a faux 1st-person statement. However, it was referring to the same person, nyako, in the 3rd-person. The confusion on that person's part was that they were assuming only the person who posted would use the him/her pronouns, using them in a purely 1st-person fashion, and that anyone else referred to would be referred to by name instead of by pronoun.

Date posted: 19 October, 2007
Tags: english linguistic
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