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The Linguistic Turf Wars Over the Singular ‘They’

‘Of all the turf wars that have complicated the landscape of grammar over the past few hundred years, the most complicated and frustrating may be that of the singular they.It may be the most controversial word use in the English language—because it highlights a hole where a better-fitting word should go.

It creates a conflict between writers and editors who want things to follow the natural symmetry of Latin, and people who find they the only logical option for referring to a single person without a gender attached.

And there has been a lot written about it—it’s something of a hot topic this year, thanks to a vote by the American Dialect Society to name they its word of the year for 2015. “In the past year, new expressions of gender identity have generated a deal of discussion, and singular they has become a particularly significant element of that conversation,” Ben Zimmer, the chairman of ADS’ New Words Committee, explained back in January. “While many novel gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed, they has the advantage of already being part of the language.” …’

Source: Atlas Obscura

 

I am a firm believer in and a strong user of the singluar ‘they’. How about you?