Sentence in question:
"You can all but hear the engineer knocking their coffee cup over fumbling for the fader."
Referring to a situation where an audio problem on a tv show was evident due to a technical mistake. The engineer in question is unseen and gender unknown.
Someone has insisted that it's supposed to be "his" not "their".

Thoughts? Citations?
Thanks
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Sentence in question: "You can all but hear the engineer knocking their coffee cup over fumbling for the fader." Referring ... in question is unseen and gender unknown. Someone has insisted that it's supposed to be "his" not "their". Thoughts? Citations?

Why not just "knocking a coffee cup over"? It doesn't make any difference if the coffee cup is the one that the engineer uses.

Tony Cooper
Orlando, FL
Sentence in question: "You can all but hear the engineer ... that it's supposed to be "his" not "their". Thoughts? Citations?

Why not just "knocking a coffee cup over"? It doesn't make any difference if the coffee cup is the one that the engineer uses.

For that example, it's fine; not a universal solution, though.

Cheers, Harvey
Canadian and British English, indiscriminately mixed For e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van
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Sentence in question: "You can all but hear the engineer knocking their coffee cup over fumbling for the fader." Referring ... on a tv show was evident due to a technical mistake. The engineer in question is unseen and gender unknown.

No, his 'sex' is unknown. The word 'gender' does not refer to persons or animals, but to words only.
Someone has insisted that it's supposed to be "his" not "their".

That's right. "His sex is unknown" is correct.
'He', 'his', 'him' are used when the person's sex is unknown. The gender of 'Hh', 'his', 'him' is uch cases is ideterminate or masucline.

Male/Female = 'sex'
Masculine/Feminine = 'gender'.
Sentence in question: "You can all but hear the engineer knocking their coffee cup over fumbling for the fader." Referring ... on a tv show was evident due to a technical mistake. The engineer in question is unseen and gender unknown.

No, his 'sex' is unknown. The word 'gender' does not refer to persons or animals, but to words only.
Someone has insisted that it's supposed to be "his" not "their".

That's right. "His sex is unknown" is correct.
'He', 'his', 'him' are used when the person's sex is unknown. The gender of 'Hh', 'his', 'him' is uch cases is ideterminate or masucline.

Male/Female = 'sex'. Applies to biology.
Masculine/Feminine = 'gender'. Applies to language
The word 'gender' does not refer to persons or animals, but to words only.

Bzzzt. Wrongity-wrong. Your knowledge of our language seems to be deficient.

Among the definitions for "gender" in the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition:
2. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.3a. The condition of being female or male; sex.
b. Females or males, considered as a group.
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The word 'gender' does not refer to persons or animals, but to words only.

Bzzzt. Wrongity-wrong. Your knowledge of our language seems to be deficient. Among the definitions for "gender" in the American Heritage ... society or culture. 3a. The condition of being female or male; sex. b. Females or males, considered as a group.

Dictionaries list all the meanings used by people, even when they are hopelessly confused. Does it not make more sense to use words to clarify, rather than confuse?
Sentence in question: "You can all but hear the engineer knocking their coffee cup over fumbling for the fader." Referring ... The engineer in question is unseen and gender unknown. Someone has insisted that it's supposed to be "his" not "their".

"his", "her" and "their" are all correct, but "his" or "her" is preferable in your example because it's an image, and whoever imagined it knows what the sex of the engineer was.
Google "singular they". Here's one article:
they
Adrian
Uzytkownik "UC" (Email Removed) napisal w wiadomosci
No, his 'sex' is unknown. The word 'gender' does not refer to persons or animals, but to words only.

I hope this little dialogue will help explain
why it is sometimes preferable to speak
of a person's gender rather than their sex:
(phone rings at reception desk)
- Hello, this is the Park hotel, can I help you?
- (unidentifiable exotic accent:) I would like
to book a room for next Saturday.
- Certainly, may I ask your name?
- Ikswohul Kezsel.
- And... sex?
- Yes!!! Please!
- Oh, come on, I just mean: man or woman?
- Doesn't matter!!
Cheers,
L.
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