let's fix the pronoun problem

Von Fugal von at fugal.net
Mon May 26 19:22:51 MDT 2008


<quote name="Levi Pearson" date="Mon, 26 May 2008 at 10:38 -0600">
> On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 10:20 PM, Merrill Oveson <moveson at gmail.com> wrote:
> > So the sentence, "A student should put in long hours of study so they can
> > master the subject."
> > After years of being docked for this, I should now start to use it?
...
> It's
> defined by common usage, not by some stuffy people in schools who
> decide how things should be.  You may get tested by such stuffy
...
> That being said, it's a *style* issue, not a *grammar*
> issue.

> > I'd like to go back to:
> > "A student should put in long hours of study so he can master the subject."
> >
> > The "he" meaning he or she.
> >
> 
> That's definitely not coming back any time soon, as it's blatantly sexist.

As you said yourself, it's about common usage more than whatever some
"stuffy person" says is sexist. Last I checked the common usage is still
to use "he" as the gender nuetral third person pronoun. I hear it all
the time, my wife and I jokingly call each other on using it all the
time. I must admit at times I am conscious of the issue when I use he,
but it's not a big deal enough to sound silly to CYA. So big ol'
official documents like to bend all over the place to not use he, but
that's not what I call common usage. For example, ever talk about babies
that are yet to be? It's always 'he' and that's not because anyone
thinks males are superior or that they want a baby boy, it's only
because it's convenient. I always say he, even though I really want a
little girl. That's where we call eachother on it, but we know perfectly
well what the other means.

Also, being a style issue, I see no reason to use bad grammer to satisfy
a few nazis. Using "they" as a singular third person pronoun us just out.
All that said, I don't mind using whatever natural evolving or sane
substitute, thon sounds ok. Problem is you have to replace all the
different varients, and that's just messy. We already have words that
work.

Von "not a sexist" Fugal
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