# Singular they = general they [duplicate]

Well, here is the situation. I have four students. They did a test. Suppose that the regulation is a student getting a score below 40 gets the remark "study hard" which is written at the bottom of the work instead of a numerical score. When I want to confirm this, may I say:

They get study hard if their SCORE IS (instead of SCORES ARE) below 40, right?

## marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth, Xanne, Rand al'Thor, marcellothearcaneAug 27 at 13:11

I am answering the OP's edited note : 'how to figure out the correct grammatical number to use'.

I suggest :

Scores below 40 earn a "study hard" comment.

The number (or even gender) of the students is actually irrelevant to the necessary grammar. There is no need for the possessive pronoun - or any pronouns at all.

And it fits for a single student, also.

The statement is about a logical connection between scores and commenting.

• The original question, amended, was “They get study hard if their score (instead of scores) is below 40. Right?" Your solution resolves nicely the issue of their + score/s – Mari-Lou A Aug 20 at 11:37
• marked you down because you did not want to answer the question and It is also just what has already been answered just in a different package. – Brad Aug 20 at 13:38
• @Brad Thank you. – Nigel J Aug 20 at 13:43

Note that ‘score’ is originally from incising a mark - literally scoring a mark in the side of a tree, in order to count. One score is one mark. Multiple scores are multiple marks.

A ‘score’ is thus a singular item – for example, the total that a student gets in response to one test.

Scores–the plural–is a collection of results, either within one test, or the totals of multiple tests. Multiple ‘marks on the tree’.

• If there is one number, or result, ie 80 - use score
• For multiple numbers, or results, ie 10, 30, 80 - use scores.

Example:

• I scored 17 in my test (singular) I had 1 score
• My scores for the 3 tests were 18, 15, and 3 (plural) I had multiple scores.

On top of that, you have ‘the student’ or ‘students’ - ie, whether ‘students’ is singular or plural. I think that is what is confusing you.

Start with scores - is it plural or singular - and then look at student or students - to sort that out.

If ‘score’ is singular - i.e. it’s just one number, then use:

They get the comment ‘study hard’ if their score is below 40

If ‘scores’ is plural - i.e. each student gets multiple numbers as a result, then use:

They get the comment ‘study hard’ if their scores are below 40

If you need to or want to differentiate:

If ‘scores’ are varied i.e. they have several numbers, and any one of said scores falling beneath 40 causes the ‘study hard; message then use:

They get the comment ‘study hard’ if any one of their scores are below 40

‘scores’ refers to ‘all their scores’ here, so it is plural.

If ‘scores’ are varied i.e. they have several and the amalgam of said scores dropping beneath 40 causes the ‘study hard’ message then use:

They get the comment ‘study hard’ if their amalgamated score is below 40

note: there is one score i.e. 1 number. So ‘score’ is singular here.

Etymology and Meaning

Score from Old Norse skora ‘make an incision’ and skor ‘notch’. Interestingly, skora also means 20 in old Norse which is why we call 20 ‘a score’. As in ‘3 score years and 10’.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/score

They get study hard if their SCORE (instead of SCORES) is below 40, right?

After reading this I would say to you, study hard

Take a step back; how would you describe giving a numerical mark? You state in your opening article I would give him a score of 40.

For a numerical mark your description is score of 40

Therefore for "The Comment" your description should be the remark "study hard"

When you want to confirm this, you should say: They get "the remark" study hard if their score is below 40

• I am afraid you have got it wrong, dude. First of all, I did not say "numerical mark". I said "numerical score". This term is broadly used by the native. And what I said was I wanted to confirm whether a student getting a score below 40 should get the remark "study hard" instead of the score (since such a score is considered too low to write on the worksheet) – Fadli Sheikh Aug 19 at 14:29
• By the way, maybe the source of your misunderstanding (or confusion) was the edited part. Someone has edited it into that terrible sentence. I do not know who. – Fadli Sheikh Aug 19 at 14:37
• @Fadli Sheikh If you read my text I said "For a numerical mark your description is score of 40" I used score as "your word" the same as you did. I used numerical mark to describe your use of score. My answer thus being; Therefore if you use score to describe the number you should use remark to describe the text. As for Editing I have no idea what it looked like previously but I share you frustration with the Editor's I think some are trying to be helpful, most are trying to gain a badge and some ? but unfortunately it sometimes removes the pivotal point of what you are trying to portray. – Brad Aug 20 at 6:13
• yeah. Some editors just make questions ununderstandable. – Fadli Sheikh Aug 20 at 6:23
• @Mari-Lou A. The issues of scores vs score had already been answered and edit when I answered the question. Please note my Heading "They get study hard if their SCORE (instead of SCORES) is below 40, right?" .............I went on to answer this question, which was posted..........When I want to confirm this, should I say: "They get the comment ‘study hard’ if their score (instead of scores) is below 40". – Brad Aug 20 at 8:06