Singular “they” is a bit of a weird beast in English, since it’s grammatically plural even when it’s semantically singular (*). This leads to some interesting verb agreement when it’s used generically…
When someone comes in here, ask them what they want.
…and also specifically…
Z looks up at you. They smile.
(Both verbs in each sentence have the same semantic subject, but the first one has a singular form to agree with “someone” and “Z”, and the second one has a plural form to agree with “they”.)
Does the Inform 7 English library have a good way of handling this?
My first thought is to put a new grammatical property on objects (alongside “masculine”, “feminine”, “neuter”, “plural-named”, and “ambiguously plural”), called “singular-they” or the like. The objects would then be singular-named and ambiguously plural, so that they get singular verbs by default but are recognized as “they” by the parser. And when the pronoun-printing machinery prints a subject pronoun for a “singular-they” object, it also sets the prior naming context to plural, switching to plural verbs.
Is this a good way to handle it, or is there a more straightforward solution?
(*) The same is true of singular “you” and singular “we”, but those are easier to handle because they’re unlikely to appear alongside names.