Thursday, May 22, 2014

Singular 'They' and Personal Pronouns of Indeterminate Gender

Damn you, English, for not having a non-awkward singular personal pronoun of indeterminate gender.

Apparently, the singular 'they' --- which I like to use informally, but which I have ingrained in me from my education as being technically incorrect --- used to be considered correct until a 19th century backlash. (Also see a discussion on Wikipedia of various alternatives to a generic 'he'.

Bah, I think we've gone backwards.

Update: I didn't state this explicitly, but I have third-person in mind.

Update 2: Travis Hime reminds me of an issue of Dinosaur Comics about this issue (though 'they' was used historically in the singular to achieve gender neutrality until the backlash).

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