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  1. #1
    Pedantic bastard
    nidhogg's Avatar
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    Language question..

    OK, serious question, and would appreciate some input from a language teacher.

    My sons homework I saw last night was (essentially) this:

    This is .........(blank space to fill in)................ They are my favourite teacher. They teach.......(blank to fill in).......


    Now, is this just me, or is this f*cked? Can you use "they are" for a singular object (person) in this case "teacher".

    Now, I will admit, I have little formal language training (since school), so if this is correct usage, I would be happy to know.

    having just forked over a small fortune this weekend to get my son into an evening/weekend language school because after 3 years at his present (english language program) school he still can't fucking read/write properly - I am a little bit on the annoyed side.

    So, sentence above - right or wrong?

    ta in advance.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Wrong.

  3. #3
    splendid and tremendous
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg
    Now, is this just me, or is this f*cked?
    Yes, unless the opening sentence is reffering to two teachers.."This is Mr Bollocks and Mrs Wankstain..they are...bla bla bla

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somtamslap
    Yes, unless the opening sentence is reffering to two teachers.."This is Mr Bollocks and Mrs Wankstain..they are...bla bla bla
    Nope, it'd still be wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg
    They are my favourite teacher.
    teacher not teachers.

  5. #5
    Pedantic bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by somtamslap View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg
    Now, is this just me, or is this f*cked?
    Yes, unless the opening sentence is reffering to two teachers.."This is Mr Bollocks and Mrs Wankstain..they are...bla bla bla
    I wondered that, but then though it should be "These are"?

    Either way I read it, Icould not get it to add up....

  6. #6
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    The daughter got incorrectly marked on the same style questions one time I corrected the teachers mistakes an sent the daughter back the next day
    The teacher completly ignores me now
    PS the teacher can say hello an ok in english

  7. #7
    Member deathstardan's Avatar
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    What the dictionaries say

    The 3 great unabridged dictionaries of the English language are the Oxford English Dictionary (Clarendon Press: 1989), Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Merriam Webster: 1986), and the Dictionary of the English Language (Random House: 1987). Here are extracts from their entries for they, them, themselves and their.
    Oxford

    they 2. Often used in reference to a singular noun made universal by every, any, no, etc., or applicable to one of either sex ( = 'he or she').

    1526 Pilgr. Perf....1759 CHESTERF. Lett. rv. ccclv. 170 If a person is born of a .. gloomy temper .. they cannot help it

    their 3. Often used in relation to a singular sb. or pronoun denoting a person, after each, every, either, neither, no one, every one, etc. Also so used instead of 'his or her', when the gender is inclusive or uncertain ... (Not favoured by grammarians.)

    13 . . Cursor M. 389 (Cott.) Bath ware made sun and mon, Aither wit ther ouen light.


    Webster's Third

    they 1b: he or she: used with an indefinite singular antecedent < everyone tries to make the person they love just like themselves - H.D. Skidmore >

    < the liability for damages lies against whoever is knowingly involved in such sale whether or not they receive any part of the consideration - U.S. Code >

    themselves 3: HIMSELF, HERSELF - used with a singular antecedent that is indefinite or that does not specify gender < nobody can call themselves oppressed - Leonard Wibberley >


    Random House

    they 3: (used with an indefinite singular antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or the definite feminine she): Whoever is of voting age whether they are interested in politics or not, should vote.

    - Usage. Long before the use of generic HE was condemned as sexist, the pronouns, THEY, and THEM were used in educated speech and in all but the most formal writing to refer to indefinite pronouns and to singular nouns of general personal reference probably because such nouns are often not felt to be exclusively singular. Such use is not a recent development, nor is it a mark of ignorance.


    It isn't new

    The entries from the Oxford English Dictionary forcibly demonstrate that the use of they to refer to a singular noun is not an innovation of recent decades or even of this century. The first citation in the Dictionary's files is from the 14th century so that we know that the practice had been adopted in writing at least by then. There may have been much earlier examples which have been lost and the practice may well have been established in speech before it found its way into writing.

    In adopting they with singular reference we are simply following a long established convention of the English language.

    Furthermore, as our illustrations from literature on this page demonstrate, the usage has enjoyed continued strong support down the centuries. Even those who are universally regarded as among the finest composers of our language can be found using they with singular antecedents and as far back as 1926, H W Fowler, of Modern English Usage fame, declared that as anybody can see for themselves was the 'popular solution' (pp 391-392).

    Equally significant, the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary prepared the entries for the letter t between 1909 and 1915. In other words, lexicographers have been recognising this use of they as normal standard practice - despite what some grammarians say - all this century.
    Last edited by deathstardan; 01-06-2010 at 09:34 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidhogg
    They are my favourite teacher.
    Sounds like perfect Tinglish !

  9. #9
    I am in Jail
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    tank u four
    N light ning
    a free won

    Gleen won cuming

  10. #10
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    Should have left "they" out and kept it blank--let the kiddies practice their pronouns. And change "are" to "is".

  11. #11
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    I reckon it just needs an "s" on teacher. Then it makes sense, no?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tickiteboo View Post
    I reckon it just needs an "s" on teacher. Then it makes sense, no?
    Yes...

  13. #13
    Pedantic bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tickiteboo View Post
    I reckon it just needs an "s" on teacher. Then it makes sense, no?
    Dunno. Would it not then start "These are" instead of "This is"?

  14. #14
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tickiteboo
    I reckon it just needs an "s" on teacher. Then it makes sense, no?
    NO.

    Starts with "this is" = singular.

    Teachers = plural.

  15. #15
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    Well, you could add some additional words in there, and then it would be correct even with the This.....

    This is John, and this is Sue. They are my favourite teachers. They teach me Ennergrish everyday.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Wilson
    Well, you could add some additional words in there,
    Very true and well observed. So we could have;




    [QUOTE="nidhogg"]This is a load of wank written by my illiterate teacher who's being paid peanuts just to turn up and pontificate. He/she will sit and regurgitate the same old rote shite that he/she was duly indoctrinated with in her excuse of a Uni.

    They are my favourite teacher. They teach allegedly, but, truth be known, it's more a matter of turning up each day, a bit of crowd control, and collect the bribes come exam time.

    They're NOT actually my favourite teacher.

    My favourite teacher is Miss Lamtong 'cos she's really nice and has big tits. It's only the crappy English (joke) teachers who use such bland attempts at brain washing.
    [/QUOTE]

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Wilson View Post
    Well, you could add some additional words in there, and then it would be correct even with the This.....

    This is John, and this is Sue. They are my favourite teachers. They teach me Ennergrish everyday.
    Exactly! That is the point of the exercise.

    This is (Mr Black) [insert, and] this is (Mrs White) They are my favourite teacherS ...

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmu
    Exactly! That is the point of the exercise. This is (Mr Black) [insert, and] this is (Mrs White) They are my favourite teacherS ...
    Give me a break.

    Surely the objective is to facilitate the acquisition of effective, communication skills through the medium of the English language.

    How, in the name of all that's holy does the work set aid that?

  19. #19
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    This are basic English.
    I correct all thing I see this is wrong in daughters homework book, re print it and send it back to school for teachers to saw, he always thanks I.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    ^ I just spat chowder......

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmu
    Exactly! That is the point of the exercise. This is (Mr Black) [insert, and] this is (Mrs White) They are my favourite teacherS ...
    Give me a break.

    Surely the objective is to facilitate the acquisition of effective, communication skills through the medium of the English language.

    How, in the name of all that's holy does the work set aid that?
    If you care to check, you will find this is a basic English exercise in most teachers handbooks. It is also something that most native speakers would be taught in school. (If you went?). Read the post! It is perfectly clear. The only mistake is a dropped 's' on teachers. The exercise is simply to enable the construction of grammatically correct sentences.

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmu
    If you care to check, you will find this is a basic English exercise in most teachers handbooks. It is also something that most native speakers would be taught in school. (If you went?). Read the post! It is perfectly clear. The only mistake is a dropped 's' on teachers. The exercise is simply to enable the construction of grammatically correct sentences.

    Oh Lord, please forgive me. I dun u rong.

    After 30 years in the business it's good to be corrected by someone who knows. Thanks.

  23. #23
    Member EssEffBee's Avatar
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    This is <Mr John>. He is my favourite teacher. He teaches English.

    This is <Mr John & Miss Anna>. They are my favourite teachers. They teach English.

    BTW, Jandajoy, you still haven't explained why you think that Australians don't all speak with the same accent.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandajoy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmu
    If you care to check, you will find this is a basic English exercise in most teachers handbooks. It is also something that most native speakers would be taught in school. (If you went?). Read the post! It is perfectly clear. The only mistake is a dropped 's' on teachers. The exercise is simply to enable the construction of grammatically correct sentences.

    Oh Lord, please forgive me. I dun u rong.

    After 30 years in the business it's good to be corrected by someone who knows. Thanks.
    Absolutely no problem! It is never easy in these situations. Good health! Cheers.

  25. #25
    splendid and tremendous
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    Yep, you wouldn't say 'These are Mr Knob and Mr Bumhole'..sounds too much like your referring to objects..'This is Mr Knob and Mr Bumhole' is fine..

    'These are my teachers' would be more appropriate..then say the names..

    'These are my teachers, Mr Arseface and Miss Vaginabreath".. this would be the most correct form..

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