As far as preferred gender pronouns go, I’m all about choosing he, she, xe, ze, whatever you want to describe yourself as - but can we please rethink using “they” and “their” to describe a single person? It gets confusing ya’ll. There’s zero judgement here, just grammatically speaking it introduces so much ambiguity and misunderstanding into the English language. That is all. Feel free to clap back if you think I’m out of line or misunderstanding something - always here to learn

likesmart
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Clapping back. Some people don’t want to be called he she or any other pronoun. “They” is what makes them comfortable as an identity. I know I, as a he, would be upset if people didn’t call me by my preferred pronoun, he. Why can’t I share that same respect to everyone else? It takes a little bit of time to adapt but honestly once you have a friend or two or know people who go by those pronouns you will just get used to it as time goes on. Or not and just isolate yourself to the group of people that make you comfortable. You do you. Just don’t be mean

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But that’s not supportive of “the science” that he/she/it/them/Ronald/Margaret/potato claim... 🤔🤔🤔

Super small note but I think it’s better to say “pronouns” instead of “preferred pronouns” — they’re not a preference or a request. Already agree w above points on usage of they dating back a while — I definitely see how it can be confusing contextually in some cases, but that’s on the writer (just like “Abby and Gabby met for brunch. She decided to order a mimosa” is super unclear — I see this issue all the time when editing!)

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@SC4 ok chad

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It’s also super confusing that individuals each have their own unique names. I mean am I really expected to learn each person’s name? Yeah, yeah you are. It’s not that hard. As for they and them, “I contain multitudes,” as Walt Whitman put it.

likeupliftingsmartfunny

@senior consultant 1 what language is that?

When people don't have "real" issues, they just come up with something.

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“Easily solved through standardization to neutral gender pronouns” - I’m sorry is that a joke? Are you suggesting we reprint every textbook, dictionary, change every English curriculum, etc.? There is nothing easy about changing a language...

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“I received a note from my secret admirer. They dropped it in my mailbox yesterday”. I think that’s standard use and not confusing to anyone

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Yes, except it denotes that you have no idea who "they" are.

likeuplifting

How about we just stop all this nonsense?

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Thank you K1. So tired of it

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Just wanna say I’m impressed with you being very open to pushback/criticism OP! Seem very receptive to learning which truly goes a long way

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Agree!!!

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As a former English major and learning and development leader, I’m happy to see this change. Having to choose a gender whilst trying to be inclusive in my writing was far more awkward and confusing.

likesmart

I used female pronouns for that exact reason.

With the growing number of pronouns it would probably be better if we just completely got rid of them and just refer to people by names or the plural they - that’s it.

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I agree. There are languages with completely gender neutral pronouns. Gender specific pronouns are unnecessary.

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You all must address me as ¥*€&!

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Ok-ok, Elon!

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There are 2 biological genders; male and female.

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Call everyone an it problem solved haha

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It puts the lotion on the skin or it gets the hose again.

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Like the OP, I don't have any trouble with transgendered people. They should be made as comfortable in society as possible. I am sitting on the sidelines and seeing if woke folks can bulldoze language on their behalf. You have two set of pronouns that cover 99.5% of Americans in everyday encounters. Then you are going to try to get everyone to sub-divide the remaining, roughly 1 in every 200 people who are trans or non-binary, into 4+ pronouns. Each pronoun needs to be learned and executes well for only a 1 in 1000 encounter. Or you will get shouted at. Given the distribution of trans folks, people in large cities and academic communities will probably pick up the language but that isn't most people. Tough hill to climb.

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PL1 - or we just use a gender neutral pronoun for all humans and solve the whole problem with higher likelihood of adoption and lower likelihood of offending anyone and higher likelihood of navigating transgender discussions towards higher impact issues.

Appreciate everyone weighing in so far! I guess perhaps where I’ve seen it be confusing is when people aren’t clear with their meaning in writing. For example, “Blake and Riley went out to dinner. They had a steak and she had salmon”. Yes that’s a very basic sentence and you could assume by the former and latter convention who had what, but maybe it was Blake who had salmon. I’ve seen several articles where the author doesn’t make it clear who “they/their” is referring to when it’s a specific person which is where the problem is

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yes, AD1 hit the nail on the head. saying “he had the steak and she had salmon” or “they had the steak and she had salmon” is informal to begin with. it isn’t clear who had what because both names are themselves gender neutral, so unless you know both blake and riley, the sentence is difficult as it is. better off saying “blake had the steak and riley had salmon.”

Couldn’t we just pick a pronoun that doesn’t already exist in the English language with a specific (plural) meaning? I’ll call anyone whatever the hell they want to be called, but they/them literally already has a definition - you can’t just take a word and change what it means because you want to.

likesmart

Not a linguist are you? Words' meanings change all the time, e.g., gay 500 years ago vs gay today or bachelor used to be knight and now it means an unmarried man.

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No one seems to have issues with the singular and plural usage of “you”, so I think it will be ok in the long run.

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It is used as a singular pronoun alllllll the time without a second thought and I'm sure you've done it before too when you didn't know the gender of the person you were referencing! For example, at a restaurant the waiter sees you alone at a table and says " are you waiting for someone?" and you say "yes" and they say "okay I'll come back when they arrive" or "can I get you a drink while you wait for them?" - totally normal use of singular they/them

likehelpful

I’ve been going with fee/fi/fo/fum lately, has worked out pretty well

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We have been using singular they more than we think. It’s just now that we are being told to direct it at someone it’s a problem.

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