Friday, 27 February 2015
I have a number of friends (there I go, boasting again!) who have an objection to the use of 'their' or 'them' when what is meant is 'his or hers' or 'him or her'.
Sometimes when a person (you know who you are - and no you are not a lawyer) speaks loudly (I was going to say shouts but that's going a bit far) at the television when a well educated person (frequently newsreaders) transgresses I try and make the point that it is invariably when the gender of the person is not known (or for legal reasons cannot be given) and in the middle of every newscast or sentence where that happens if the person was obliged to use the correct form then it would become cumbersome and intensely irritating for most of us.
I don't seem to be winning the argument. Do I have any support out there?