Singular 'They': It's Still Fine


A few weeks back, a National Review contributor went on a tear about how awful it is that we use they as a singular pronoun and about how we should all use he when we don't know an individual's sex, as in, "Everyone with a locker should make sure he locks it."

The writer wasn't very nice about it, "Trying to depluralize they is an asinine effort, stemming from a stupid misunderstanding made by stupid people."

A number of us language types pointed out how very, very wrong the piece was. (Here's my two cents). But a particularly delightful contribution came from linguist and Arrant Pedantry blogger Jonathan Owen. Here's what Jonathan had to say.

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