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What should we use as gender-neutral pronouns for non-binary people? Show more Show less

Many have debated about what gender-neutral pronouns should be used. Is it up to personal identity, or should a specific set be officially incorporated into the English language?

We should use the already-familiar "they/them" as a gender-neutral pronoun for non-binary persons Show more Show less

They/them has been used as a gender-neutral pronoun for ages, but many English teachers will call it out as improper grammar. They/them as gender-neutral pronouns should be officially recognized as proper grammar because millions are already familiar with using them in this way.
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Using they/them is already familiar to us

For society to adapt to using gender-neutral pronouns, it would be more beneficial to use they/them because this set has already been used to signify gender neutrality for generations.
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English Gender Identity LGBTQ

Context

The Argument

Singular "they" has already been in use for generations to refer to persons of an unknown gender. Singular "they" is now being used by many as a gender-neutral pronoun for persons of a non-binary gender, even going so far as to be named the Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society.[1] "It" is a gender-neutral pronoun which has been used to describe non-binary persons. However, "it" is dehumanizing and implies that a non-binary person is not a person.[2] It makes the most sense to adopt singular "they" as an official gender-neutral pronoun because of how familiar it already is within the English language.

Counter arguments

The use of singular "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun is grammatically incorrect. The only grammatically correct gender-neutral pronoun currently existing in the English language is "it."[2]

Framing

Premises

[P1] People are familiar with using they/them as gender-neutral pronouns. [P2] Singular "they" should be accepted as an official gender-neutral pronoun for non-binary individuals.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Using singular "they" as a gender-neutral pronoun is grammatically incorrect.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.americandialect.org/2015-word-of-the-year-is-singular-they
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/singular-nonbinary-they

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 30 Jun 2020 at 12:42 UTC