Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Slang fills the void, yo!

The dilemma: English lacks a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

Baking powder?

Yes, that's right. If you want to say that *someone* did something and you aren't sure if that person was male or female, what do you say? 

He? So it was definitely a male?

He or she? Awkward?

They? So it was more than one person?

A recent post on Grammar Girl shares the story of how young people in Baltimore resolved this dilemma by inventing a new word. Without really inventing a new word. Just reappropriating it.

The Grammarian finds this delightful, fascinating, slightly problematic, and on the whole, totally worthy of our attention. 

The Grammarian, who shall remain gender neutral for the present moment, enjoys a good teenage 2.0 solution for lingo trubbies.


  1. um, AWESOME.

    Let's all adopt it! Now!

  2. Also, I 100% approve of Grammar Girl's advocacy for they/them for the gender-neutral singular pronoun.

    In fact, I noticed that Facebook has been using this when a person doesn't indicate their gender. "Rachel Smith has changed their profile picture." or "Jerome Hakeem updated their relationship status to single :( "

    The Internet is forcing us to use bad grammar...that might turn out to be good grammar :)