Monday, January 11, 2016

They is Here to Stay

The latest on the pronoun front:
Singular "they," the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.

....The Post’s style guide ratified this usage last month, which caused some grammar pedants to shriek. But as Post copy editor Bill Walsh explained, the singular they is “the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.”
Now we're just going to need a new way to distinguish between singular and plural.


G. Verloren said...

Here to stay? This usage is literally centuries old.

And no, there's no need to have separate terms for the singular and the plural. Perfect example - no one says "Thou" anymore, we just adopted the plural form "You" and used it as the singular form as well. We determine number by context, with little to no confusion involved.

John said...

I have found that there is often confusion over whether "you" is singular or plural, which is why I started saying "y'all." I felt the need for a plural you and thought, hey, I'm from Virginia and Missouri, I can say "y'all" if I want to. So I do.

pootrsox said...

Wait! My VA neighbors tell me that "y'all" is singular, and "all y'all" is the plural form!

ArEn said...

In Baltimore plural is "youse all"

leif said...

@pootrsox, what's the possessive of all y'all? is it really all y'all's? i've heard "y'allziz" in houston on a business trip and about choked on my coffee.