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  • Singular they is word of the year

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mauijt@gmail.com grohens@illinois.eduNov 21, 2015 9:29 pm

Our compliments to the panel; they have done themselves proud.

"Kudos to the Distinguished Usage Panel for choosing wisely and well."  Why argue when you don't have to?  A singular "they" should be the choice of last resort, when no other word or words will do.  

Reply to mauijt@gmail.com at 9:29 pm
janetrizvi@gmail.com Nov 22, 2015 1:39 am

I thoroughly endorse the use of the singular they.

But perhaps some thought needs to be given to the nature of the verb it governs. Shouldn't a singular pronoun take a singular verb? Your learned disquisition doesn't address this issue.

'They are', or 'they is'? 'They run' or 'they runs'? 

'Someone knocks at my door; I open it; they has run away.'

'The librarian sits at their desk; they also issues books.'

Looks & sounds weird, I acknowledge. But isn't it necessary to underline the singularity of the pronoun?

Reply to janetrizvi@gmail.com at 1:39 am
kannford09@comcast.net mauijt@gmail.comNov 22, 2015 8:46 am

"Kudos to the Distinguished Usage Panel for choosing wisely and well."  Why argue when you don't have to?  A singular "they" should be the choice of last resort, when no other word or words will do.  

They explanation is lucid. Can we have the like for aint?

Reply to kannford09@comcast.net at 8:46 am
cfp@prodigy.net Nov 27, 2015 10:07 am

I'm fine with singular they when needed, but why do people insist on writing things such as, "When a woman is expecting a baby, they need to make sure they take care of their health."? No one is helped by using they / them / their instead of she / her / her in this surrender of grammatical correctness (if that is okay to say) to political correctness.

Reply to cfp@prodigy.net at 10:07 am
rsjodrey@gmail.com cfp@prodigy.netDec 1, 2015 8:53 pm

I'm fine with singular they when needed, but why do people insist on writing things such as, "When a woman is expecting a baby, they need to make sure they take care of their health."? No one is helped by using they / them / their instead of she / her / her in this surrender of grammatical correctness (if that is okay to say) to political correctness.

I contend that we should say, "When a person is expecting a baby, they need to make sure they take care of their health," since individuals who are not women can be pregnant, such as trans men or non-binary people with uteri. 

Reply to rsjodrey@gmail.com at 8:53 pm
rsjodrey@gmail.com janetrizvi@gmail.comDec 1, 2015 8:54 pm

I thoroughly endorse the use of the singular they.

But perhaps some thought needs to be given to the nature of the verb it governs. Shouldn't a singular pronoun take a singular verb? Your learned disquisition doesn't address this issue.

'They are', or 'they is'? 'They run' or 'they runs'? 

'Someone knocks at my door; I open it; they has run away.'

'The librarian sits at their desk; they also issues books.'

Looks & sounds weird, I acknowledge. But isn't it necessary to underline the singularity of the pronoun?

Why change the conjugation? We use "you" as a singular all the time, and yet conjugate it as "you are" which is the same as "they are". "You" used to be exclusively a plural pronoun, and this changed yet the conjugation did not. I argue the same for singular they.

Reply to rsjodrey@gmail.com at 8:54 pm