I've read a number of documents and articles where the singular female case is used instead of the male. We just haven't come up with an appropriate grammatical convention.
Interestingly (or not), I've found that many lawyers are pretty good writers in general. A lawyer friend of mine has helped me with e-mails (not a contract) to a law firm and we agonized over every word.
(Of course, the best novelists sweat blood over every word.)
The contract could use the generic "who," or (in the same aesthetically unpleasant vein as "he/she" and its ilk) -- it could use "who/which" or "who/that" to allow for specific grammatical description of a non-human organization contract party.
You lawyers say the funnest things!
I see your point. I sometimes write a sentence that requires two different grammatical interpretations. "Microsoft and Steve Balmer...." -- That? Which? Who?
I bow to your wisdom about semicolons. I'm not afraid of semicolons. Big spiders and rabid dogs, yes. Semicolons, no.
My knowledge of Shakespeare is limited mostly to what I learned (learnt!) in school. I do, however, like Shakespeare's sonnets. But I haven't paid attention to the grammar and diction for a long time. I wrote the equivalent of a book of poetry for a year-long college honors English course, but that was when I had to use a quill pen.
"Yes, 'infer' and 'imply' often are confused. ('are often confused'?)"
While we're being picky about grammar anyway, I feel that the missing prepositional phrase (i.e., "for each other" or something like it) may be necessary to that sentence, lest the juxtaposition imply (or we infer) that the sentence personifies the two terms and describes their mental states.
Something which I've found common in the legal education realm is the insistent use of "she/her" in place of the more standard "him/his." (Law schools and the legal sector, of course, are notoriously politically correct here in the US.)
Personally, at the risk of sounding unenlightened, I think that if one is going to so jarringly buck the convention of the masculine default inherent in our language's partially Romantic origins anyway, he (or she) may as well be more precise and use "s/he."
Something else to consider in this legal context, given our discussion of this and the he/she issue: Imagine the situation of the form contract, which an individual may be filling out or signing for himself or for a corporation or other organization. The contract could use the generic "who," or (in the same aesthetically unpleasant vein as "he/she" and its ilk) -- it could use "who/which" or "who/that" to allow for specific grammatical description of a non-human organization contract party.
True enough, Alan, regarding semicolons, but if used well, I aver they are more appropriate than periods in some instances and can even enhance comprehension. I think it's a bit of a vicious circle; people fear semicolons because they don't understand them, yet they don't try to understand them because they fear them.
It's also worth pointing out that in poetry (and particularly in Shakespeare's works), semicolons can carry much different weight and meaning than periods. Indeed, in Shakespeare's works (and elsewhere in the poetry realm), semicolons can even indicate inflection of the spoken line.
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