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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • ... what exactly is the proper and established gender-neutral singular pronoun in English?

    (All of the style guides to which I write suggest switching back and forth between "he" and "she" and I'm fine with that to the extent that I have no desire to give offense. However, in a language that barely supports gender anywhere but specific singular pronouns and yet lacks a neuter case, it feels weird.)

    • by Damian (784) on 2006.06.20 4:51 (#48307)
      ... what exactly is the proper and established gender-neutral singular pronoun in English?
      "They".

      At least, it was both proper and established long before the Latin-besotted prescriptive grammarians sunk their talons into English usage.

      See Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] for a summary, and this site [crossmyt.com] for more detail than you could possibly desire.

      Personally, I strive very hard either to cast my subjects in the plural, or to avoid the use of pronouns entirely. All the "approved" alternatives are ugly, cumbersome, or both, but using singular "they" is worse: historically and colloquially correct, but occasioning a fate worse than death...grammatical arguments with the well-educated! ;-)

      Damian

      • I considered adding a link to the last time the subject came up, but I rolled and hoped you wouldn't read this comment. I didn't even use your name!

        • I didn't even use your name!
          What makes you think I don't read everything that mentions your name? >;-)

          Echel^H^H^H^H^HDamian