On Tue, 18 Sep 2007 10:09:06 -0700, you wrote to Freelance Traveller: >> From: Jeff Zeitlin <icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> >> On Tue, 18 Sep 2007 06:31:10 -0400, David Mc wrote: >> >On 9/17/2007 8:55:06 PM, Maria P (mudpuppy1@xxxxxxxxx) wrote: >> >> In my last AYAW? game at DragonCon this year, I >> >> don't think we wolves would've won had there not been a "face hugger" card >> >> (or an alien card) that allowed them to silence someone once they died. >> >The dead cannot talk in games I play. They are just observers. >> >> This is one of the bad things about English not having grammatical cases >> like German or Russian. >> >> The Face Hugger allows a player to silence someone once they (the Face >> Hugger) have died. >Uh, not to be a prickly pedant, but YOU made the grammatical error by >using "they" for a singular third person pronoun and by "casting it >back" across the object in hopes it would stick to the subject (which, >FYI, it rarely will--folks tend to "cast back" to the most-recent noun >that they read). >Had you written it as follows, you would have caused no confusion: >"When the the Face Hugger dies, he or she may silence another player for >the rest of the game." >Now... I won't argue that English is in dire need of a neuter third >person pronoun to get rid of that silly "he or she" crap or use of >"they" as a neuter singular (which German DOES have, to the woe of >German language students here in the US). Not to mention a third person >plural pronoun distinct from the singular (hence the reason we invent >words like "y'all" and "youze" to fill that niche). >But anyhow... you made that confusion, not the English language.... >David You are correct; however, the original error was Maria P's (quoted above), not mine. The issue was not one of grammatical gender, though; rather, it was the ambiguity of the given construction coupled with the lack of grammatical case in English that I was pointing out. Maria wrote - and I've copied it from above - "...a "face hugger" card (or an alien card) that allowed them to silence someone once they died." The use of 'they' is ambiguous in this construction - the two possible reading are (text in brackets mine for clarification): 1. "...a "face hugger" card (or an alien card) that allowed them to silence someone once they [the person to be silenced] died." 2. "...a "face hugger" card (or an alien card) that allowed them to silence someone once they [the person holding the Face Hugger card] died." Subsequent comments about dead people not being able to speak in other people's games indicate that the people making those comments read the construction as #1 above, when Maria's intent was #2. Your correction directed at me - the less ambiguous construction of "When the the Face Hugger dies, he or she may silence another player for the rest of the game." - is in fact correct and would have clarified the issue admirably - but it should have been directed to Maria, rather than to me.