There are certain things in English that are traditionally referred to as "she". Ships, for example.

@ddanbe - I am two generations removed from Dutch. My dad's parents both came to Canada from the Netherlands in the 1890s. My dad retained a few words of the language but none of it made it down to me.

We learn the difference through education. I guess it is one of the reasons why Dutch is a bit difficult to learn for no Dutch speaking people. In practice it is not so great a difficulty should you ever make a mistake though. We have many 'it' words also. Persoon(person) and iemand(someone) have both genders, so it doesn't matter if you say he or she. If you know the context it is obvious of course.

So, if you're unsure of the gender with the people you are referring to, what is the better choice in a scenario where there is only one person:
"I do not believe he/she knows what he/she is doing"
"I do not believe they know what they're doing"

I personally think the first is correct but it looks odd to me whereas the second looks good but is of the wrong context.

of course more often than not Dutch people don't know or care whether inanimate objects are supposed to be male or female and refer to them as genderless.
It's not like German or French where the difference is clear from the way it's refered to (and where the difference mostly comes from in Dutch).
"Der Stuhl" and "Die Tafel" simply become "de stoel" and "de tafel" in Dutch, just as they'd be "the chair" and "the table" in English.

For most Dutch people it'd be rather hard to list whether object around them are male or female, unless they had access to a quality dictionary to look it up in.

"I do not believe they know what they're doing"

is perfectly grammatical because the verb-tenses do not distinguish plural or singular. So out of context one would assume multiple people are being referred to. Only the context of the remark would make it clear a single individual is being referred to. But in anycase it would be odd that someone would make such a comment without knowing the gender of the person being referred to.

Is Bob Dylan wrong when he sings : "Lay, lady lay, lay across my big brass bed"?
Should this not have been "Lie, lady lie, lie across my big brass bed"?

Correct. In English, you "lay" something, such as linoleum or carpet, or you lay yourself down. Although he could correctly have written "lay yourself across my big brass bed". It doesn't scan as well, though.

Thanks for responding and the info.
So:"I'm sick, I lie in bed." is not correct then?

yes, it's correct. You're not laying in bed, though you may have been laid in bed by someone after being found unconscious on the floor.

commented: everybody do the dinosaur :D (you won't get it) +0

"lay" can also be a past-tense of the very "to lie"

"Yesterday I was sick, so I lay in bed all day" is correct -> past-tense.
"Today I am sick, so I will lie in bed all day" is also correct -> future-tense.

But if you want to say that you are currently in bed then you would use a different form (not sure what its name is):

"I am sick, so I am lying in bed"

You could use "I lie" in sentences like:
"I lie face-down in bed"
"I lie in bed until 9am on the weekend"

"lay" can also be a past-tense of the very "to lie"

Actually, laid is the past tense of both lay and lie (link).

"Yesterday I was sick, so I laid in bed all day" is correct -> past-tense.

I honestly lie in bed. :)

and of course you could get laid in bed, but for details about that you'd have to visit places that are definitely NSFW.

Thank you all for these (sometimes witty :) ) comments on lie/lay etc.

Actually, laid is the past tense of both lay and lie.

No its not, your link as well as these others all say "lay" is the simple past tense of "lie".

"laid" is only the past tense of "lay":
"I laid the plates on the table for Christmas dinner"

"laid" is also the past participle of "lay":
"I have laid the plates on the table"

But "lain" - with an 'n' is the past participle of "lie":
"He has lain with a beast"

When your best friend says 'I got laid last weekend'

^^this is not only grammatically incorrect but wrong because it happens to be a lie ;)

but wrong because it happens to be a lie ;)

And how would you know that unless you were there?

I honestly lie in bed. :)

There are so many ways to respond to this, mostly with references to measurement, but I won't get specific ;-P

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Lay preacher should be lie preacher though. :)

same problem wid me i also had a bad grammer create problem for me ..!

In the famous Lennon song, in the second stanza, strofe he sings: Imagine there's no countries Why is it not Imagine there are no countries poet freedom?

Because "Imagine there are no countries" has too many feet. That song is timed at 5-7 feet per prose (I'm not 100% sure, cause counting feet in English is a bit more fuzzy), and using "are" in there results in 8 feet ("I-ma-gine there are no coun-tries").

He could have written

Imagine no more countries.

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In pop though, where diction isn't so important, it's quite possible that this could have been contracted to

i-ma-gine the're no coun-tries

Putting aside Lennon's metrics for a little bit, it really annoys me how some people can't distinguish "of" from "have". Example: "I should of done it" vs "I should have done it". Really? English is not my native language and I speak/write it better than many.

commented: Good Point +0

Example: "I should of done it" vs "I should have done it".

Guilty. Many native English speakers pick up bad habbits from parents and other people. And you are correct that non-English people often write/spek English better than native English people. I see that quite often right here where I live. There are a lot of adults who are functionally illeterate.

I don't mind errors in grammar, if they're not constant, from someone who actually has something to say and shows some knowledge on something. What I can't stand is empty-headed people, with nothing to offer but the urge to throw a dictionary at their faces.

'of' vs 'have' is sometimes considered part of a dialect/accent in which case does it still count as wrong?

As long as I can understand what the person is saying/writting I really don't care about spelling or grammar. I'm far more annoyed by well-spoken/written people who talk/write about nothing or are so verbose it takes you half an hour to obtain the same information that could have been expressed in a single sentence.

Here's another example:

Mother of God vs Mother have God.

Yes, it still counts as wrong.