Forum:Plural vs. Singular Player references in articles

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Forums: Yew Grove > Plural vs. Singular Player references in articles
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This thread was archived on 3 April 2010 by Calebchiam.

I've been alarmed by the utter lack of grammatical correctness in some, if not most of our articles. Even the userboxes are not free of errors. Most of the errors are plural/singular disagreements, where the plural pronoun they is used to refer to the singular noun player. An example of this is in the following userbox:

This user has 0 out of 10 black marks, putting him/her in the green zone.

A more correct version of this would read "putting him or her in the (x) zone."

Other examples include the Emotes and Summoning pages.

Before I fix all the errors I see, however, I'd like to establish a guide so that the articles consistently refer to either players or a player. Personally, I support the plural "Players". Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?

--Liquidhelium 23:14, January 31, 2010 (UTC)

List of grammatically incorrect userboxes: (sorry I don't know how to edit userboxes) Note: when a particular parameter is required, I arbitrarily picked one to put in there. The userboxes for the other parameters are incorrect also. I'll post more as I see them.

Mining This user wishes they had a Mining level of 99.

Lunar Diplomacy icon.png This user made a suit to visit their dreams in the Lunar Diplomacy quest.

Blue partyhat.png This user has a partyhat... in his dreams.


Comment - I fixed Template:Userbox/has black marks. Add "male" or "female" to the "gender" parameter. White partyhat old.png C Teng talk 00:07, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, the one I gave was just an example. There are many more broken userboxes. --Liquidhelium 00:26, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Support - I was fixing noun-verb disagreements in some of the Emotes articles earlier today. I think using proper grammar in our articles is important, especially since this is an encyclopedic site. However, I'm not sure how many people here are even aware that a sentence like "In the Wave emote, the player waves their hand back and forth" is grammatically incorrect.  Tien  00:25, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Support - @Tienjt0, I noticed you were editing the emotes articles a while ago (P.S. You forgot to change eight to eighth on one of the articles).

The amount of grammatical mistakes is rather alarming, but some are not very noticeable (such as the ones Tienjt0 was fixing from their to his/her).  Ranged-icon.png Zap0i TalkRune scimitar.png  00:47, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Ah, I was too focused on fixing the noun-verb stuff. Lol  Tien  00:54, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Comment/support plural - I'm quite surprised by the editing activity that's been going on in response to my thread. I was going to fix the Emotes page after a standard has been established, but I guess Tien has taken care of that for me. The real reason that I made this thread, however, was to establish a standard so that we have consistency in our articles. For example, the Item Lending page could possibly state either: Players can lend their items to others. A player can lend his or her item to others. I think we need to establish a standard of editing so that we can consistently use either the plural or singular versions of words, not both. --Liquidhelium 01:00, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Support - Well IMO plural sounds better Lol.  Ranged-icon.png Zap0i TalkRune scimitar.png  01:12, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

I agree. I just wanted a consensus before I started editing, but I guess I'll stick with the plural version.--Liquidhelium 01:13, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - I've only fixed a couple of the Emote articles. Many of them still contain grammatical errors, so you can fix them if you want. The most recent article I edited was Give Thanks, and I was extremely surprised at the number of mistakes I corrected... there were cases of noun-verb disagreement, inconsistent verb tenses, and just plain wrong word usage (chopping on a tree?). Maybe I'm just obsessive with this stuff, but anyone proficient in English grammar who read that article would be a bit disgusted. Here are the changes I made to the article.  Tien  01:47, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Yeah I was absolutely disgusted when I read half of them. And no, you're not obsessive with this stuff. Your edits are much appreciated Smile. I'll get around to fixing the rest when I have time. --Liquidhelium 03:01, February 1, 2010 (UTC)
Wouldn't you be "obsessed" with something, instead of being "obsessive"? Or is my English really bad (I didn't know "they" was wrong OMG! A school teacher said it was correct >.< )? Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 18:28, February 1, 2010 (UTC)
I sincerely hope that either you're kidding about the school teacher or that the one you asked didn't teach English. If he or she does, then that's just sad. Obsessed is an adjective, as in obsessive. Both can be used in my sentence above. --Liquidhelium 20:43, February 1, 2010 (UTC)
To quote: "You (referring to me) should never use "you" when you mean 'any random person' - you (me again) should use "they", "one" or even "a person"."
It was a bad teacher though >.< Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 22:20, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Support plural - Sounds much better. ~ Fire Surge icon.png Sentry Telos Talk  20:34, February 1, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Unfortunately, I have discovered yet another problem with grammar. Several entities/organizations, such as Jagex, could be thought of as one entity, or as a collection of moderators. Thus, is Jagex singular of plural? Jagex may not be the best example. A better example would be the Guardians of Armadyl. The word "Guardians" is plural. However, if the Guardians of Armadyl is seen as an organization, then it should be singular. Else, if the Guardians of Armadyl are seen as a collection of independent guardians, then they should be plural. Which is correct? --Liquidhelium 19:56, February 3, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - In reference to Jagex, I usually think of "it" as a singular entity, since it is a company in and of itself. I generally like referring to "the player" in the singular, as it goes as far as is possible with connecting to the reader, however, that leads to problems with editors mistakenly using "they", as saying his or her is awkward. So, if it comes to smoothness of reading, plural is easier, but I feel that the majority of people are used to using the singular player, and the vast majority of articles do so. Vlastne 23:16, February 3, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Ah... collective nouns. I also refer to Jagex as one company (Jagex is). However, I would probably refer to Guardians of Armadyl with a plural verb... but I don't really know why. We refer to sports teams as plural collective nouns; for example, we say, "The Ravens are awesome," not "The Ravens is awesome." However, bands usually referred to as singular ("Muse is awesome" or "The Killers is awesome," though "The Killers are awesome" sounds better). Gah, such a confusing topic. Though not as confusing as the isometric view.  Tien  20:47, February 6, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Is 'they' really wrong? From wikipedia:They#Usage:
"The "singular" they is the use of this pronoun, where they is used as a gender-neutral singular rather than plural pronoun. The correctness of this usage is disputed.

The singular pronoun they is even found in formal or official texts. For example, a 2008 amendment to the Canadian Criminal Code contains the following text:"

So it's not wrong per se. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 10:07, February 7, 2010 (UTC)

I think the singular "they" is acceptable in Britain. In the US, the usage seems to be disputed. Generally, "he" is used as the generic singular pronoun, but many people think it's sexist. Thus, "he or she" is usually used, but that's awkward. On the other hand, using "they" to refer to a singular noun breaks a rule, but it's not sexist or awkward. So... the best way to avoid this situation is to rewrite your sentences.  Tien  03:52, February 8, 2010 (UTC)
So... If it's acceptable in Britain, why not use it? We use British spelling after all. Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 06:32, February 8, 2010 (UTC)
I think. Lol  Tien  14:26, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

Question - What is wrong with "In the Wave emote, the player waves their hand back and forth"? scoot4.pngscooties 04:05, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

"Their" is plural, but it's referring to the singular antecedent "the player."  Tien  14:24, February 8, 2010 (UTC)
But "They" can be singular, so why not "Their"? Does anyone here know a linguistic? That would help >.< Ancient talisman.png Oil4 Talk 16:24, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

Opinion - the proper use may in fact be the singular they. I looked it up in Wikipedia, and have this fragment from an article after I searched for "singular and plural" - "found in many languages, or, in English, when using the singular "they" for gender-neutrality." Unless the author was a vandal, they may be right. =) --TheLastWordSword 01:13, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

I was taught the same thing in school, so it is correct I believe.--Agamemnus 17:23, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

I know you're out there, I can hear you breathing... --TheLastWordSword 17:18, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - They may be acceptable as a singular pronoun, but that does not make it grammatically correct. It doesn't matter if it's the most popular phrase in the world if it's not correct. --Liquidhelium 17:32, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - Um, maybe you should read the article first. Until you can cite a better authority, this one might do for the interim. --TheLastWordSword 18:17, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

What do you mean by a better authority? Aren't the rules of standard written English good enough? --Liquidhelium 18:18, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

Opinion - So, anyway, the choices seem to come down to the "masculine neuter" (ow!) -- "he" for all singular persons (not going to be popular, I can bet) or "indeterminate they" -- "they" for singular person. See here--> Wikipedia:singular they <-- for an illuminating (and verbose) discussion. --TheLastWordSword 18:44, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

Have you tried clicking that link? It leads to a nonexistant wikipedia page. --Liquidhelium 18:50, February 12, 2010 (UTC)
I think it's wikipedia:Singular they. Hello71 00:04, February 13, 2010 (UTC)

Wiki-grammar is even more difficult to learn than English grammar, and not quite as consistent, lol. Weird, huh? --TheLastWordSword 18:57, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

Comment - What's wrong with he or she when talking in singular? Anyways, it's already been agreed to use plural in articles unless singular is much more appropriate. So we will say along the lines of "During the wave emote, players wave their hands" or something like that. --Liquidhelium 18:49, February 12, 2010 (UTC)
<indent> BTW, there is nothing wrong with "he or she", so long as we use it here at RSWiki consistently. Good luck with that. That's the issue for the forum here. --TheLastWordSword 19:04, February 12, 2010 (UTC)</indent>

Request for closure - I started this thread to get the opinion on whether plural/singular pronouns worked better in articles. Since a general consensus has been established, anyone can close this now. --Liquidhelium 19:10, February 12, 2010 (UTC)

And what is the general consensus?   az talk   20:29, February 12, 2010 (UTC)
Well, the general consensus on the topic that I started this Yew Grove thread about is to use plural words in articles. I have no idea what the extraneous chat is about. --Liquidhelium 21:21, February 13, 2010 (UTC)

Closed - It is preferred that plural pronouns are used in articles. C.ChiamTalk 03:43, April 3, 2010 (UTC)