I have just seen a slogan that makes me curious about how to use plural
and singular in the same sentence: Everybody sees what they want to see. I can't understand whether it is correct sentence or not so I hope
somebody will help me.
Everybody is singular, but may refer to either gender. We don't have a singular pronoun that refers to either gender. If we were going follow 'everybody' with a singular pronoun in the second part, we would have to say the following, which seems clumsy.
Everybody sees what she or he wants to see.
On the other hand, they does not specify gender. We commonly use 'they' in contexts like this, where we need a pronoun that does not specify gender. Because 'they' is plural, we follow it with the plural form of the verb, even though we are referring to one person.
This is a grammatical inconsistency, as the verb number has indeed changed from one clause to the next, but it is not unusual to do this in order to avoid "sexist" language [e.g., "what he wants...."].
Cagey, I don't understand why soncentrate on gender when
the sentence doesn't refers to particular one.
The subject of this sentense is not women or men, I think this is human.
Also my question was mostly about possibility of combination plural and singular in the same phrase.
your example is not absolutely useful, because: John sees the same thing as David and Mary see.=>There is no question, because John is not equal David and Mary. Everybody sees what they want to see.=>Everybody is equal they so the initial question remains the same.
Lorelord, I also think that 'they' is plural in any case and 'everybody' generally means the same as 'they',
though it indeed make more specific sense.
Would there be some problems with the initial meaning if we tried to transpose these two words: They see what everybody wants to see. ?
I know that there is some problems, but I don't actually realize
how it is possible despite 'they' and 'everybody' means almost the same?