Gender-Neutral 3rd Person Singular

Subject: Gender-Neutral 3rd Person Singular
From: George Hayhoe <GFHayhoe -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 15:39:21 -0500

In response to Tim Altom's posting, I'll repeat what I've said before several
times before on this list. We already have a gender-neutral 3rd person
singular pronoun that has the benefit of wide popular usage. The pronoun in
question is "they/them/their."

This fact made itself even more apparent to me during the past few months as
I taught college freshman composition for the first time in 12 years.

I'm not saying that use of "they" as a 3rd person singular is going to be
accepted by everyone, especially those who use language as a means of
identifying an elite class. Nevertheless, this is a usage which is so
entrenched as to be almost impossible to expunge.


Now let's hope that current popular usages such as "like" and "go" for "say"
DON'T become so entrenched!


--George Hayhoe (GFHayhoe -at- aol -dot- com)

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