gender-neutral pronouns as epic fails

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Mon Aug 2 06:57:30 UTC 2010

Dennis Baron wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dennis Baron <debaron at ILLINOIS.EDU>
> Subject:      gender-neutral pronouns as epic fails
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Some useful historical info updated on the gender-neutral pronoun as a
> word that fails:
One singular pronoun I've encountered is a two-word phrase:   "That
person."    I've heard it mostly from people in 12-step programs;  I've
also heard it over the phone from a cop in London, Ontario.

Singular "they" -- I've never understood why it's worse in principle
than singular "you."   Then again, I've never understood why the people
who want to preserve a pure French vocabulary haven't called for
banishing "biftek" and "redingote" from French.

Dan Goodman
"I have always depended on the kindness of stranglers."
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Expire
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