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Hi, Emotion: smile

Are these sentence ok? I wonder about those they's... I know the use of "they" like in the sentences I'm about to write should be avoided in formal writing, but what about everyday conversations? Do these examples sound too odd even in a conversation?

  1. John: "My new Spanish teacher comes from Spain!" ...Mike: "They must know Spanish very well then!"

  2. John: "My doctor said I'd better give up smoking" ...Mike: "And you should follow their advice dude! What else did they say?"

  3. John: "Yesterday I met a chinese in a chat room" ...Mike: "Oh, did they tell you their name?
P.S.: If I don't know the gender of a pet, should I use it and its instead of they and their?

Thank you in advance.
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Comments  
They- quite strange in 1-3, even pretentious. When (are we going to see) a plural of Majesty?Emotion: smile

Check
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=they
esp 1, 3
So what am I supposed to say? Emotion: tongue tied I really don't knowwhat people usually say in conversation when the gender is not known, but maybe somebody once told me to use they/them.

By the way, another example Marius Hancu:

  • A:"It was Marius Hancu who replied..." B: "Marius Hancu? Who is it/she/he? Who are they? What did they say?
As you see, I don't know if you are a male of a female.

Thank you. Emotion: smile
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I don't think they sound strange. Singular "they" and "their"have been used in many respected texts, including Shakespeare and the King James Bible.
what people usually say in conversation when the gender is not known

Ah, in that case, yes, you could use their. Or just use he or she, as you wish.
So the examples I gave sound fine in everyday speech as they are written? (Ex. no. 1, 2, 3)

Excuse me if I keep asking, but I'd like to hear a comment on the examples I wrote, so I will be able to better understand how to use "they" and form other similar sentences by myself.

Thank you.
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Okay, Kooyeen, here's what I'd probably say:

1. "He..." (pause, raise eyebrows) "She?" (looking for John to let me know which one) "must know Spanish very well then."

2. I'd probably say "Follow his advice! What else did he say?" (And John can correct me if his doctor is a woman.) (And the day I say "dude," would you please just shoot me?) I think the differene between 1 & 2 is that 1 has the emphasis on that person, so identifying him or her correctly is important. Here, the emphasis is on my friend's health, and I don't care very much about the person who gave it.

3. Generally, "A Chinese" is not what you hear - you'd hear "A Chinese guy" or "A Chinese girl." However, I can easily imagine hearing "I chatted wtih my first American" so the example applies. In that case, I'd probably say "Oh yeah? What part of the country are they from? " I can't imagine that I'd say "they" and "their" like you have in your example. I'm one of the people who feels pretty strongly that in writing, the singular use of "they" is still not okay (although I know that I'm in the minority), but it does creep into speech patterns.

Yes, use "it" for a pet if you don't know the gender. Sometimes, people also use "it" to refer to an unborn baby whose sex has not yet been identified, but some people find that pretty objectionable.

Does that help?

  1. John: "My new Spanish teacher comes from Spain!" ...Mike: "They must know Spanish very well then!"
  2. John: "My doctor said I'd better give up smoking" ...Mike: "And you should follow their advice dude! What else did they say?"
  3. John: "Yesterday I met a chinese in a chat room" ...Mike: "Oh, did they tell you their name?
In each case above I would take a chance and say "he". My conversation partner will correct me if I'm wrong.

CJ
Thank you very much for your replies! [y]
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