Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Singular "They"

As mentioned previously in this blog, various official style guides now accept the use of "they" as a singular pronoun, as one way to avoid sexist constructions using "he" when it could be either gender. For example, "they" is singular in the following sentence: "When an author finishes a first draft, they know they still have to do a second draft." Within this context, I give you the American Copy Editors Society's winning Limerick of it's 2019 Annual Grammar Day Tweeted Limerick Contest:

The all-purpose he is passé,
And he or she gets in the way.
Ip, ey, co, and heesh
Make readers say "Sheesh!"
Which leaves us the singular they.

            —Claire Valgardson (@CMValgardson, http://effective-editing.com/)