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olive

a grammar / stylistic problem

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I have a question to those who live and study/learn in the UK, or to those who are familiar with proper British English.

I'm working on my thesis right now, and I've encountered a little problem. When I refer to a subject (in particular a person) whose gender is not relevant, and I continue the sentence with a personal pronoun, shall I use "he or she", the somewhat weird-looking "s/he" or rather the plural form "they"?

 

an example: When someone starts learning a language, s/he has to know... etc. OR When someone starts learning a language, they have to know... etc.

 

As far as I know, this latter form is used in contemporary American English in favour of political correctness. But I don't know whether it's formal or informal. And what I really don't know is if it's used in academic British English.

I prefer American English, but decided to write my thesis in BrE, since it is preferred at the university. Whatever the case, it's a shame I've never ever heard about this form in any of my university classes, nor have I heard any of my teachers use it. Maybe it's because they prefer BrE...? Or are they not up-to-date enough in this field...? So I just have this problem... :)

Thanks for your kind help in advance... :gentleman_in_wft[1]:

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awwww...I wish I could help you!

All I can say is that once in high school I wrote a paper in which I used the word "they" in that same context and It was marked wrong :( but that was in USA and it was only one teacher. so I wouldnt count much on it. :damn:

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honey u must to ask it from your profesor,not here :D hey i miss yaaaaa :gentleman_in_wft[1]:

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my girl!!

 

i study in the UK...i'd use either...but to be honest if u want it to sound formal i wud use s/he....

 

but really its down to u... :gentleman_in_wft[1]:

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i would say s/he because when you use "they" you voice in your thesis becomes passive (causing your paper to become weak).....and like sara said it is more formal.....

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Strictly speaking, should it not be "that person" rather than "s/he" or "they"? (Says me struggling with an essay on DMARDs in Rheumatoid Arthritis :eek_wft: )

 

P.S. I'm a born Scot but English was my worst subject at school, so don't take my word for it :)))

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Hi guys,

I am trying to write a letter in Farsi to my good friend and wish to say "Something you said really surpised me" (I virtually choked on my tea!!!!!!) How do I write it??? I have got as far as 'cheesy gofti' but am stuck.

 

Thanks for your help,

 

 

susan :happy_wft:

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