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View Poll Results: Do you want English to have a genderless pronoun?
No. 37 48.68%
He works for me. 7 9.21%
She works for me. 0 0%
He/she works for me 0 0%
Alternating he and she in example works for me. 1 1.32%
Yes. 31 40.79%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #16
WT Sharpe
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As a MobileRead moderator, I wish every day that there was an acceptable neutral pronoun. Unless people's user names are fairly gender-specific or they mention their gender in their profile, I have no idea if the person I may be dealing with is male or female.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:14 PM   #17
WT Sharpe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StoryEnthusiast View Post
In my technical translation work I tend to use "they" just to play safe.
I also usually use "they" when referring to someone whose gender is unknown to me, but it seems a poor substitute because of its plural nature.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:53 PM   #18
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Yes DesertGandma, have fun is always my sign off as fun is a very high idea and under apperciated.

As far as I'm concerned if we can stop using words in everyday language
that hurt other peoples we can start using a word that includes the 51% of the population not represented by he, even if the guys at the Oxford Dic think he is the right word.

English is great because it can change - who care what the Queen has to say about (unless she's on my side).

My vote is for thay with an A just to screw with dyslexics... dooh, I dyslexic.

Have fun, Jason
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:26 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WT Sharpe View Post
I also usually use "they" when referring to someone whose gender is unknown to me, but it seems a poor substitute because of its plural nature.
You should have no problem identifying me as "he." Ha ha!
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjantailor View Post
[...]As far as I'm concerned if we can stop using words in everyday language that hurt other peoples we can start using a word that includes the 51% of the population not represented by he, even if the guys at the Oxford Dic think he is the right word.

English is great because it can change - who care what the Queen has to say about (unless she's on my side).[...]
And it is changing, just not always as you might expect. It is not at all unusual for existing words to take on new duties over time, and that is what has been happening with they (etc.). I don't see any particular need to fight the trend, as writers we simply do our best to keep up - which, I would add, is also the role of the people that maintain dictionaries: they don't make the rules, they reflect them and update them as trends change. Such a catch up position necessarily has them potentially lag behind the times, but I still prefer to trust such sources than to try and make my own best guess.
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Old 07-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #21
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I have a suspicion that a genderless pronoun better than "they" will gradually emerge as so many people in these Internet days choose to bypass identifying themselves by gender. It won't be forced or decided by committee, however. It will be a new pronoun (or perhaps an existing pronoun) that simply catches on.

Then we can move on to deciding such pressing questions as should a normally non-capitalized user name be capitalized if it's the first word in a sentence.
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Old 07-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WT Sharpe View Post
I also usually use "they" when referring to someone whose gender is unknown to me, but it seems a poor substitute because of its plural nature.
  • they = singular
  • theys = plural
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:44 PM   #23
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The word "you" used to be plural, now it's singular. Now, "they" can be singular or plural. It's hard for a new pronoun to come into existence, it's easier to repurpose what's already there.

There's the pronoun "one", but that seems often used for indirectness. "One might put gas in the car before one leaves town" is a little more indirect than "Put some gas in the car so we don't run out of gas in the interstate like the last time!"
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
There's the pronoun "one", but that seems often used for indirectness. "One might put gas in the car before one leaves town" is a little more indirect than "Put some gas in the car so we don't run out of gas in the interstate like the last time!"
I like the latter one.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:31 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
More seriously, doesn't they and their etc. cover most of the requirement?
I've seen they/their quite often used here on this forum and every time stumbled over it as it was followed by the verb in its singular form. For a non-native speaker it sounds soooo wrong - we are glad to get at least the basics of grammar right. It took me a very long time to realise how they/their is meant and that this was just another case of political correctness (and, of course, we do have the same problem in German too!).
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:10 AM   #26
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are we having fun yet?
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:13 AM   #27
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When I first started college (long long time ago), "he" was the gender neutral pronoun. Over time it became "he or she" and only recently has "they" just started becoming accepted in papers. I think that in the long run "They" will become the gender neutral pronoun that most American speakers/writers use.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:07 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
How about it?

More seriously, doesn't they and their etc. cover most of the requirement? I came across this article recently: A singular use of they.
IME, that's now pretty well standard in STM (science, technical, medical) writing, certainly for UK publications. I generally only see he/she or (yuk!) s/he from writers whose first language isn't English.

Quote:
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Aack. Since there are no "genderless" people that I know of, I do not want to read a "genderless" pronoun.
Actually, from a medical perspective, there are people who are genderless. Some have been born with both sets of reproductive organs, while others are genetically one sex but physically the other. From a social context, there's an additional group of people who make a choice to be neither one nor the other.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:57 PM   #29
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Actually, from a medical perspective, there are people who are genderless. Some have been born with both sets of reproductive organs, while others are genetically one sex but physically the other.
Very true. I remember watching a similar story on 60 Minutes (?) about the damaging effects of the desperate parents who determined the gender of their new born child who later regretted and had to go through a gender change operation later in life. Very sad.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:40 PM   #30
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Out of interest, why isn't 'they' included as one of the options?
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