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Why is it "shake them by the hand"?


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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #1 (permalink) Wed Nov 10, 2004 14:17 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Test No. incompl/elem-3 "Drive carefully", question 7

When you first meet someone, you usually shake them ......... the hand.

(a) with
(b) on
(c) in
(d) by

Test No. incompl/elem-3 "Drive carefully", answer 7

When you first meet someone, you usually shake them by the hand.

Correct answer: (d) by

Your answer was: incorrect
When you first meet someone, you usually shake them with the hand.
_________________________

why do we use by instead of with?
shake them by the hand/shake them with the hand
Christie
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By accident #2 (permalink) Wed Nov 10, 2004 14:23 pm   By accident
 

In English we often use the preposition by to express the way or means through something is achieved:

I usually go to work by car but sometimes I go by train.

By watching CNN every day I have been able to improve my listening comprehension.

She found this exciting new cafe? by accident when she was strolling through the shopping mall.

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Plural? #3 (permalink) Mon Feb 20, 2006 13:08 pm   Plural?
 

When you first meet someone, you usually shake them ......... the hand.

(a) with
(b) on
(c) in
(d) by

Hi all!
I have a question!

Wouldnt the sentence above be correctly spelled :"
When you first meet someone, you usually shake his hand."?
someone is singular and them is plural
i dont really understand that
:-)
guest
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Gender war? #4 (permalink) Mon Feb 20, 2006 16:03 pm   Gender war?
 

guest wrote:
Wouldn't the sentence above be correctly spelled :
" When you first meet someone, you usually shake his hand."?
Someone is singular and them is plural.
I dont really understand that
:-)

It sounds a bit odd to me, too. But ‘they/them/their’ are the politically correct pronouns to refer to someone of unknown gender. Otherwise, you would have to say ‘he/she’, ‘him/her’ or ‘his/her’, which is more time-consuming and which, according to some natives, sounds horrible. You see, people are becoming more and more gender-sensitive and many things have got to change accordingly, including the language.

In other languages like French or Spanish, the masculine gender dominates the feminine in the plural. Personally I’m not losing any sleep over this (though maybe, just maybe, it seems unfair, somehow), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they also changed that rule one of these days...
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #5 (permalink) Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:30 am   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Hi! Conchita! I agree with you.
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #6 (permalink) Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:41 am   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Just to add to my previous post:

In written Spanish, the 'PCness' of the matter is often taken care of with the at sign, which we call 'arroba'. The little snail comes in handy when the gender of the addressee/s is unknown or when both genders are being addressed, and is often used to replace the 'a' and 'o' gender endings. So, 'dear friend/s', for example, becomes 'querid@/s amig@/s'.

Back to the original thread question, other common phrases are:

- to shake hands (with someone)
- to shake someone's hand.
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #7 (permalink) Thu Oct 16, 2008 14:30 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

In addition to what Conchita has mentioned about the PC ("politically correct") aspects of gender-neutral pronoun usage, I'd like to point out that the use of a plural pronoun (rather than a singular "generic" masculine pronoun) isn't necessarily always simply a question of political correctness. This excerpt from the American Heritage Dictionary addresses the fact that the use of a "generic" masculine pronoun sometimes does not sound generic at all, and instead sounds incredibly odd and nonsensical:
Quote:
Defenders of the traditional usage have argued that the masculine pronouns he, his, and him can be used generically to refer to men and women. This analysis of the generic use of he is linguistically doubtful. If he were truly a gender-neutral form, we would expect that it could be used to refer to the members of any group containing both men and women. But in fact the English masculine form is an odd choice when it refers to a female member of such a group. There is something plainly disconcerting about sentences such as "Each of the stars of As Good As It Gets [i.e., Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt] won an Academy Award for his performance". In this case, the use of his forces the reader to envision a single male who stands as the representative member of the group, a picture that is at odds with the image that comes to mind when we picture the stars of As Good As It Gets. Thus he is not really a gender-neutral pronoun; rather, it refers to a male who is to be taken as the representative member of the group referred to by its antecedent. The traditional usage, then, is not simply a grammatical convention; it also suggests a particular pattern of thought.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/75/H0097500.html
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #8 (permalink) Thu Oct 16, 2008 17:28 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Hi Conchita,

I'm not so sure that this use of 'they' 'their' is a politically correct thingy. To me it's more of a practical solution when we want to refer to both 'he' and/or 'she' and 'his' and/or her'. I think its infinitely preferable to this weird 's/he 'or 'his or her' - that to me is loopy pc.We aren't bugged in English with the gender of nouns as to whether they are French le/la or German der/die/das. Of Spanish, Conchita, I know nothing like Basil's poor downtrodden waiter, so help me there. What I'm getting at, admittedly hamfistedly, is I would say/write: Each child likes to take their favourite toy to school (here of course I'm talking about the tots not the bigguns) rather than getting all tongue tied and twisted with his/her and the like. I do believe it messes things up if you have to keep that lark up.

Alan

PS
Margaret Doyle has compiled a corker of a book called: The A-Z of non-sexist Language, which is very illuminating. She's an American lady who currently lives in London and among her varied activities is that of being a voluntary mediator for neighbour disputes. Maybe I should give her a call and she could help me quell my desire to assassinate the barking dogs belonging to the neighbours two doors down. If I had the power to cast spells, both dogs would long since have been dead meat!
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By accident #9 (permalink) Thu Nov 13, 2008 6:27 am   By accident
 

Torsten wrote:
In English we often use the preposition by to express the way or means through something is achieved:

I usually go to work by car but sometimes I go by train.

By watching CNN every day I have been able to improve my listening comprehension.

She found this exciting new cafe? by accident when she was strolling through the shopping mall.

in your explanation, i donn't know the difference between by and through. will you explain please? thank you
Athena
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #10 (permalink) Thu Feb 12, 2009 0:35 am   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Why not shake hands with sb?
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By accident #11 (permalink) Thu Feb 12, 2009 13:04 pm   By accident
 

Athenaxcy wrote:
in your explanation, i donn't know the difference between by and through. will you explain please? thank you
Athena

Hi Athena,

Please take a look at by vs. through.

Thanks,
Torsten

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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #12 (permalink) Thu Feb 12, 2009 13:06 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Mila562 wrote:
Why not shake hands with sb?

When you shake somebody by the hand, you take the initiative and they responds. When you shake hands with somebody your both equally active.

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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #13 (permalink) Thu Feb 12, 2009 13:18 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Torsten wrote:
Mila562 wrote:
Why not shake hands with sb?

When you shake somebody by the hand, you take the initiative and they responds. When you shake hands with somebody your both equally active.

Hi Tosten,

Many thanks for your explanation. Does it make sense if I say: shake somebody's hand? Thanks.
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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #14 (permalink) Thu Feb 26, 2009 19:44 pm   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Hello..
Ok! I was confused about when we use by or with, but now I'm clear with your explanation.

Thank you!!!

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Why is it "shake them by the hand"? #15 (permalink) Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:10 am   Why is it "shake them by the hand"?
 

Infin1ty wrote:
Torsten wrote:
Mila562 wrote:
Why not shake hands with sb?

When you shake somebody by the hand, you take the initiative and they responds. When you shake hands with somebody your both equally active.

Hi Tosten,

Many thanks for your explanation. Does it make sense if I say: shake somebody's hand? Thanks.
Hi Infin1ty

Yes, you can also say shake somebody's hand, and the sense would be similar to shake somebody by the hand.

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