I want to know which word does "they" refer to, in the following statements. The question rises because the subject in the beginning sentence is "someone" which is in singular form. The Statements are as follows:

Simply this: When someone discounts the idea that the whole block universe really exists, and insists instead that it is only what is happening right now that exists, presumably they mean to include what is happening right now in locations other than where they themselves happen to be.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, tchrist Dec 28 '17 at 17:21

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  • ...but note that in your example there's no possible ambiguity, since it wouldn't really make sense to speak of locations "happening" to be in particular locations, and there are no other credible referents apart from someone. – FumbleFingers Dec 28 '17 at 17:06
  • "They" is anaphoric to "someone", which is non-referential, i.e. it refers to some arbitrary person. Singular gender-neutral "they" is commonplace nowadays. – BillJ Dec 28 '17 at 17:54

In modern usage, they can be used as a gender-netural singular pronoun. In your example, without further context, "they" refers to "someone."

For more on "they" used as a singular pronoun, see https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

  • Yes, of course it refers to "someone", but "someone" is non-referential, so it follows that "they" is also non-referential. – BillJ Dec 28 '17 at 17:53

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