… or so the rule goes. But while we hear the plural, inclusive “they” used often in speech for indefinite reference, how do we refer to specific individuals? And can we prescribe pronouns? A linguist from the University of Illinois is quoted as saying that prescribing usually doesn’t work.
… and other tales of woe.
After I told the editing class always to use the relative pronoun “who” for people, not “that” or “which,” one student asked me about how to refer to dogs. Are dogs “who” or “that”?
I’ve been looking for an answer to that one. I’m going to save “who” for people and let the dog be the one “that” … . Ardent pet lovers would disagree. Go ahead. Even some grammar experts do. For example, Big Dog’s Grammar at http://aliscot.com/bigdog/pronouns.htm. You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet.