145 years late as usual, the New York Times decided to publish an Op-Ed yesterday by writer John McWhorter embracing the use of the singular “they” pronoun. While McWhorter, a linguistics professor who runs a popular Substack, explains that he embraces plural pronouns, some writers found themselves upset by the mere premise of they/them pronouns becoming more common.
Those people, obviously, don’t have a lot of queer, trans, or nonbinary people in their lives. And it shows!
Writer Joyce Carol Oates felt the need to weigh in on the subject by explaining that…they/them pronouns aren’t “clear” enough to become popular?
“they” will not become a part of general usage, not for political reasons but because there would be no pronoun to distinguish between a singular subject (“they”) & a plural subject (“they”). language seeks to communicate w/ clarity, not to obfuscate; that is its purpose. https://t.co/uRhYJKP0LB
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) October 6, 2021
First off all, who the fuck asked you, Joyce? Also:
“They” has literally been in use since at least 1375 as a singular pronoun in the English language and we still use it all the time to describe one person, but that’s cool. https://t.co/b6r75URrLM
— Mx. Amanda Jetté Knox (@MavenOfMayhem) October 6, 2021
I’ll just leave this right here.
Ppl really reveal themselves when they say they’ve never heard “they” used as a singular pronoun when people do this all the time.
“I saw someone run by really fast and then they disappeared around the corner.”
— Vaccinated💉Masked😷Praying for the World🙏🏾✝️ (@BreeNewsome) October 6, 2021
It just isn’t that hard, y’all!
My thoughts on the “they” pronoun piece in the NYT?
More than 1 in 3 trans children seriously attempt suicide. Almost 1 in 3 trans people live in poverty.
If you care about trans people, your energy would be well spent focusing on civil rights: School. Housing. Employment.
— Brianna Wu (@BriannaWu) October 6, 2021
If “match” can mean both “identical object” and “tool used to set things on fire” then the English language will survive the use of the singular “they” pronoun.
— Jude “Please Buy MAW #1” Doyle (@sadydoyle) October 6, 2021
can we not waste energy arguing that ‘they’ is grammatically correct as a pronoun, the people arguing that it isn’t don’t care about grammar, they just don’t like or don’t ‘believe in’ non-binary people. please, it’s only wednesday
— Vic Parsons (they/them) (@vicparsons_) October 6, 2021
It’s ONLY WEDNESDAY!
The only thing I can clearly put together is that a group of marginalized people have asked you to simply use a different pronoun as a means of respect. Furthermore, anyone who is not explicitly in their position has no right to tell them how they should want to be addressed.
— Emily (gripe era) (@boan_bone) October 6, 2021
It’s pretty simple and basic.
I don’t need to boost a checkmarked bigot troll any further by adding to the QRT dunks, but seriously, trying to appeal to authority on the issue of pronoun usage is laughable when every major writing style association and dictionary already supports singular they/them.
— Biowlogist 🏳️🌈 (@biowlogist) October 6, 2021
The future is already here. You can embrace it, or you can keep pretending that progress doesn’t exist.
weighing in on they/them pronouns in 2021 is cheugy
— emily alison zhou (@emializh) October 6, 2021
Let’s be honest.
Actually, Joyce, the “purpose” of language is to alert everyone that a sabertooth is in the camp. Everything else is a little extraneous
— 🧟♀️ Ghoulia 👻 (@JuliaFtacek) October 6, 2021
They/them is already general usage 🏳️⚧️ https://t.co/VpPzBgUAzD
— Zeke Smith (@zekerchief) October 6, 2021
The last word on the subject.
xoxo, everyone who has been using they/them pronouns for decades.