Singular They and the Pronoun Proposal

Person looking down at their shoes as they stand on wooden walkway over cloudy water.
Photo by Nicholas Kampouris on Unsplash
  • As early as 1977, the National Conference of Teachers of English proposed that their is preferable to his as a singular possessive pronoun.
  • The nineteenth century saw writers trying to coin alternatives for a [gender neutral pronoun].
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, and T.S. Eliot all used they for purposes of gender neutrality or syntactic clarity.
  • This usage has occurred in every century of English language usage.
  • Even the most recent edition of Fowler’s Modern English Usage notes that the singular they is widely accepted and uncorrected by copy editors in publishing houses.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store