Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Washington Post to Allow Singular ‘They’

My Washington Post brother and I have talked about issues surrounding covering transgenders and people who identify as queer -- the "Mx." honorific (pronounced Mix), etc. Now comes this style memo from him, via Poynter:
It is usually possible, and preferable, to recast sentences as plural to avoid both the sexist and antiquated universal default to male pronouns and the awkward use of he or she, him or her and the like: All students must complete their homework, not Each student must complete his or her homework. When such a rewrite is impossible or hopelessly awkward, however, what is known as “the singular they” is permissible: Everyone has their own opinion about the traditional grammar rule. The singular they is also useful in references to people who identify as neither male nor female.
As for Mx., Poynter reports that The New York Times standards editor Philip B. Corbett said in June that the Grey Lady was taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I don’t think we’re likely to adopt Mx. in the near future,” Mr. Corbett said. “It remains too unfamiliar to most people, and it’s not clear when or if it will emerge as a widely adopted term.”


das buut said...

I was kinda on the fence about They since it seems like a bit of trouble wrapping your head around it, but I liked it when the lovely Ms. Cox brought it up on Colbert. They is a good word, one we know already, doesn't come across as 'spezul snowflaky', and ascribes to a more open and understanding society feel. As a Progressive Liberal, I approve!

As for that other, you can leave the trail Mx out for the raccoons and squirrels.

Identify as queer? What? Is that a joke? Is it a tumblrism? Is that like the IT from the Dan Savage encounter a bit ago? I'm not getting this, and I write speculative science fiction.

Bob K said...

Now there is no "their" there.

Post, Shoots, Leaves said...

"they" is a plural, not a singular, pronoun. End of discussion. o

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