approbation whereof <they> can produce an Example

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gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi there,

"Adhaerence To Custome, From Ignorance Of The Nature Of Right And Wrong Ignorance of the causes, and originall constitution of Right, Equity, Law, and Justice, disposeth a man to make Custome and Example the rule of his actions; in such manner, as to think that Unjust which it hath been the custome to punish; and that Just, of the impunity and approbation whereof they can produce an Example, or (as the Lawyers which onely use the false measure of Justice barbarously call it) a Precedent; like little children, that have no other rule of good and evill manners, but the correction they receive from their Parents, and Masters; ..."

Leviathan E-Text | Part 1: Of Man, Chapters 11-16


I don't know what the underlined "they" refer to. Was it possible that pronoun such as "they" could refer to something vague?

Thanks

Gil
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It refers to "a man" in "... disposeth a man to make ..."

    By the way, Shakespeare has been mentioned in other WRF English Only threads as a well-respected writer who used "they" as a singular pronoun. Here's another 17th-century writer who did the same, even though he had previously referred to "a man" so he could have reasonably used "he."
     

    gil12345

    Senior Member
    chinese
    It refers to "a man" in "... disposeth a man to make ..."

    By the way, Shakespeare has been mentioned in other WRF English Only threads as a well-respected writer who used "they" as a singular pronoun. Here's another 17th-century writer who did the same, even though he had previously referred to "a man" so he could have reasonably used "he."
    Thanks.

    I heard such a usage, that is to use "they" singularly, has received endorsement from major dictionary publishers.
     
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