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Shouldn't "Nonbinary" Individuals Have a Singular Pronoun?
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From Merriam-Webster dictionary as of today:


\ ˈt͟hā \
Definition of they (Entry 1 of 2)
1: those ones : those people, animals, or things
They dance well.
What do they want to do?
They aren’t as popular as they once were.

2—used to refer to people in a general way or to a group of people who are not specified
You know what they say.
People can do what they want.
They say the trial could go on for weeks.
He’s as lazy as they come.

3—used with an indefinite third person singular antecedent
No one has to go if they don’t want to.
Everyone knew where they stood …
— E. L. Doctorow

I’m sure I’ve used this kind of usage many times. On the rare occasions when I notice it could be considered problematic (problematical?), I often switch over to the informal-sounding second person: “You don’t have to go if you don’t want to.” This has the advantage that the word “you” in English is used both for singular and plural and doesn’t come with a presupposed gender. Of course, you end up sounding like Bright Lights, Big City but that’s a price you might want to pay.

4—used to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary (see NONBINARY sense c)

I knew certain things about … the person I was interviewing.… They had adopted their gender-neutral name a few years ago, when they began to consciously identify as nonbinary — that is, neither male nor female. They were in their late 20s, working as an event planner, applying to graduate school.
— Amy Harmon

When you are looking for clarity of thought, Amy Harmon, the Watsoner of Nonagenarian Great Men of Science, is where you turn first.

Note that this quote is carefully selected and/or edited to avoid any of the obvious grammar conundrums around the new They: e.g., “they had” and “they were,” rather than a present tense formulation that would force the writer to choose between, say, “they has” or “they had” and between “they is” and “they are.”

My impression is that The Woke tend to have the personalities of Grammar Nazis, so how exactly do they square this circle?

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  1. One of the ways I lose karma on Reddit is by calling out the indiscriminate use of “they”. Someone will refer to their spouse as “they” and I will ask them if they are a polygamist.

  2. Cortes says:

    What’s the difference between definitions 3 and 4?

    What does 4 distinguish really?

    • Replies: @Chesterfield
  3. The hyper-woke Afua Hirsch (wealthy Jewish father, black mother, and hence, fulltime race hustler) was on the BBC R4 morning show to lambast Douglas Murray for “misgendering” Sam Smith.

    She stepped on a rake within seconds.

  4. Cortes says:

    I’m guessing the cymbals guy is non-binary

    (In real time I missed the chance to post on the physiognomy thread)

  5. Lot says:

    A reminder that nearly all “non-binary” are just ugly heterosexual women who want the attention and wokemon points associated with being a “sexual minority.”

    Actual trannies would give their left nut to be confused with real-life shes and hers.

    Pablo “They” Gomez, the Berkeley antifa murderer of an attractive white young woman, shows the rarer male version of this: he was a tiny ugly heterosexual man who became a “non-binary” as a failed attempt at radical chic.

  6. The hyper-woke Afua Hirsch (wealthy Jewish father, black mother, and hence, fulltime race hustler)

    Why would a rich Jew marry a black woman? Shiksa, yes, but sista?

    Maybe if he knocked her up sixty-five years ago…

    (BTW, that does not mean “awakened” on this side of the Pond.)

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Autochthon
  7. I don’t know about these non-binary people. “They” are the least of my problems.

    I’ve been sick and tired for a decade now of people using “they” for 3rd-person singular, sex-unknown. It’s been going on since I’ve been a kid, I think, but I say “decade” as I’ve been annoyed by this for at least that long. For the correct English, one would say “he”. I guess women’s lib put the kibosh on that, for most of us except the stalwarts that don’t put up with the crap*.

    It’s even worse when we DO know the sex. I’ve read multiple articles with things like “This is one of the symptoms a women will get when they go through menopause.” I mean, WTH? We know it’s not a man! Especially if we know whom we are actually talking/writing about, let’s use the appropriate he/her, her/him, etc. If we don’t know, I’m sticking to the old way. Then again, I still say “Peking”, so …


    * I say Miss and Mrs. to the teachers, no matter what they tell the kids to say.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  8. J.Ross says:

    That infiniti sign — I suddenly miss the Jewess board (and there is nothing online like the hypnosis board) …

  9. J.Ross says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    DeBlasio did. There is a tiny sub-sub-minority of Jews who have jungle fever. There was also a brief period around midcentury where cultmarx propagandists tried pushing the hyper-sexual negro, not as a complaint, but in a bid to get gullible and concupiscent whites to like black people.

    • Replies: @Couch scientist
  10. Do non-binary individuals refuse to engage in 1000101?

  11. “I’m sure I’ve used this kind of usage many times.”

    I hate when they use a usage.

  12. Rosie says:

    While we’re at it, how about a second person plural. I say we regularize “yous.” Y’all would be fine, too IMO.

  13. @Cortes

    #3 does not have to refer to a person of non-binary gender.

  14. Bill P says:

    Grammar shouldn’t be an issue here. They really are denying the subjective sense of self and positing multiple identities, so you’d have to go with the plural to be correct in their scheme.

  15. BB753 says:

    What’s wrong with “it”? As far as I know, it’s a neutral pronoun and Stephen King does not hold the copyright.

    • Agree: TWS, NickG
  16. Anonymous[277] • Disclaimer says:

    The Woke have the personalities of Grammar Nazis, but not the knowledge base to really pull it off. They almost always have college degrees (usually with an accompanying Master’s, or even a PhD) but noun/pronoun and subject/verb agreement, proper use of the subjunctive…these things elude them. And other, more advanced knowledges–like proficiency in classical languages–that were once considered the marker of a humane education? Forget about it. As someone made to suffer through many years of Latin, nonsensical neologisms like “transphobic” make me want to tear my hair out.

    Actually most Wokies don’t even have a good handle on basic English vocabulary, I’ve found: they all seem to think that “enormity” is a synonym for “enormous” (Barack Obama made this error not infrequently) and that to “peruse” something means to lightly skim it. The vocabulary lesson most of us learned around 10th grade (don’t use a word unless you’re absolutely sure of its meaning) seems to have been lost on them. Probably they were too precious and special for such things. Their university years were spent in Ethnic Studies and Feminist Literature classes, writing essays on the struggle of being a Womyn in George W. Bush’s America. They are Maoists posing as intellectuals, nothing more.

    And yes, I know that by writing this post I’ve opened myself to having my own grammar and spelling ripped apart. Have at it, you cretins!

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
  17. Paging Dr. Leibniz! But really, his mind would explode if he had to try and deal with today’s craziness, so let’s let him be. Pager off.

    This bizarre anti-binary sexual crap is like going into a college town’s tea-house and being presented with a menu of unique teas so large, that it’s like having an elephant shit in your lap. (When this happens, just parrot the longest haired grandson’s order, and you’ll be OK.)

    In the VAST majority of cases, an individual need merely to peek at ‘is/’er privates, and… voila! If you can carve your initials in the snow at three (3) meters after three (3) pints of ale, it’s likely that you’re a male. If you cannot, back of the line with you and best wishes to Chas Bono and fuggoff!

    The gender BS these days is quantum. Yeah, we used to have boring stuff like quantum mechanics and such, and now we’ve got quantum gender states.

  18. Anon[276] • Disclaimer says:

    indefinite third person singular antecedent

    I hold out for he/him/his/himself here. or her if the antecedent is clearly female. Better to sound a bit fusty and behind the times — but smart and educated — than to sound stupid and uneducated — or, worse, woke. Honestly, it just grates on me like fingernails on a chalkboard to use a plural in this case.

    And anyway, although him misstates the sex, they mistates the number: each is equally wrong.

    In the case where it’s not an indefinite antecedent, but simply someone who demands the use of they, I find it really confusing. I have to backtrack and doublecheck the antecedent, and often it’s ambiguous. Publications seem to realize this, so you see a lot of pronoun avoidance and the repetition of names, and when they is used, there is often a sort of trigger warning saying that so-and-so uses the pronoun they, to communicate to the reader that from now on he needs to pay close attention so as not to get confused by who is being referenced.

    Here’s Charles Murray’s solution:

    Perhaps the most unique answer to this grammatical quandary comes from Charles Murray, who advocates that female writers use a generic she and male writers use a generic he.

    This is a clever way of saying he’s just going to do it the traditional way, while seeming to give him an out of charges of sexism.

    • Replies: @Couch scientist
  19. Getting to correct the grammar of others while also socially signalling wokeness virtue…it doesn’t get much better than that. This type likes grammar for its ability to signal; they don’t give a damn about its function. They also like being protran because it is a chance to distinguish themselves from rubes; they don’t talk to trannie youth from the homeless shelter.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  20. @J.Ross

    See also Lenny Kravitz (music), Maya Rudolph (Idiocracy, SNL), Noah Tannenbaum (fictitious, sopranos)

    But not Whoopie Goldberg, who cleverly picked a Jewish name to make it in show biz but who is not Jewish.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  21. @Anon

    A great solution. And let non-conforming writers use generic they to highlight how dumb and selfish is their usage choice.

  22. J.Ross says:
    @Couch scientist

    And Beanie Sigel and Robert Marley.
    And the family Smollett.

    • Replies: @Couch scientist
  23. We already have a 3rd person neuter pronoun which also happens to actually perfectly connote this situation. It.

  24. @Lot

    Ok, Lot you made me go lookup what a “trap” is.

    All i can say is that there something really, really wrong with the West. I don’t believe it’s “the food” or “chemicals” or any of that. I believe it’s minoritarianism and what we’ve allowed ourselves to tolerate and have foisted upon us.

    There is beauty–great beauty–in the natural complementarity of a man and a woman. Nothing is more precious than a man and woman devoting themselves to each other to create and raise children together. This complementarity itself has been under attack. But then when you pile on and allow various perversions to take hold in people’s minds, to be held with anything other than disgust, or at least disdain, a nation, a civilization is on the road to ruin.

    • Replies: @Lot
    , @J.Ross
  25. Non-binaries need to be dehumanised for the avoidance of any confusion: I refer to those as ‘it’ (singular) and ‘those’ (plural). Some would say one should use ‘them’ for the plural of ‘it’, but that would be confusing.

  26. Pericles says:

    ‘Y’all’ is in the process of being appropriated by hipster cool woke antifa um ackshuallies. It seems like so genuine when they use it. We may raise the question whether it’s the appropriate way to hail a non-binary they.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  27. Altai says:

    Yes, but the whole ‘Xir’ thing was so silly that they had to bury it.

  28. @Lot

    You’re not gonna go full anime on us, are you bro?

    • Replies: @Lot
  29. @Couch scientist

    Why would they? Homeless shelter trannies are f***ing nuts!

  30. Ah, that’s easy. Just use the set theory & intersection, A⋂B. So, she ⋂ he gives – he.

  31. iffen says:

    If binary becomes illegal, will we have to give up our computers?

    Or, will fluid computing be a way out?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  32. Rosie says:

    ‘Y’all’ is in the process of being appropriated by hipster cool woke antifa um ackshuallies. It seems like so genuine when they use it.

    Yep, that’s the problem with y’all. It doesn’t sound right coming from anyone but a true Southerner. Other than that, it seems like a perfectly good contraction to me.

    • Replies: @Foreign Expert
  33. Gabe Ruth says:

    Yins is the way to go.

    • LOL: Rosie
  34. @Rosie

    And we have to distinguish between y’all and all-y’all.

    • Replies: @Rosie
  35. @J.Ross

    How could I forget the Smollett?

  36. My proposal for a singular pronoun: it

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  37. Anonymous[131] • Disclaimer says:

    Singular They has been a proud informal tradition of English speakers for centuries. Why should I let some trannies stop me from using it?

  38. Given your last paragraph Steve, I wonder how black folk feel about the wokesters “culturally appropriating” ebonics????

  39. Lot says:

    It is mostly meant to be taken as a joke meme by the young loser reactionaries on 4chan. It is hard to explain the background completely.

    J Ross knows these things better than I do, but I often can’t understand his point so I don’t know how well referring you to him helps.

    If I think about it too much it seems like another regrettable cultural degeneration. On the other hand, “no enemies to the right.”

  40. Rosie says:
    @Foreign Expert

    And we have to distinguish between y’all and all-y’all.

    And another lol!

  41. J.Ross says:

    Making people conscious of traps — which are rare, but easier to meet with internet and social media, and who, remember, are traps because they are gay men seeking to trick straight men into surprise gay sex — means making people better prepared for a sick world.
    Also, 4chan was historically libertarian and a refuge for outsiders. Tolerance of sexual deviancy made sense in the wake of say Reagan-era “conservative-christianity” and without the knowledge that actually lefties were just using tolerance as a trap.

  42. @Rosie

    Y’all has a certain southern charm to it.

    Yous sounds uneducated to me.

  43. Jazz prefers the pronouns “she” and “her.” She identifies as a transgender girl, having begun her transition three days before she turned 7. Her birthday is Dec. 27, and she announced the change right around Christmas, after spending a year grappling with the decision on her own.

    • Replies: @anon
  44. MEH 0910 says:

  45. Yes, “Its” short for Idiots

  46. anon[176] • Disclaimer says:
    @Adam Smith

    Then this summer, there were complications. Someday this will be classified as child abuse, self-mutilation of the “cutting” sort, or maybe torture.

    • Replies: @Adam Smith
    , @BB753
  47. MEH 0910 says:

    Kenny vs Spenny – Season 5 – Episode 2 – Who Can Bone More Women

    Eight women spend some sexy time with Kenny and Spenny who do everything in their power to get as much sex as possible off them. Spenny’s arousal theory is put to the test while the ever confident Kenny is more focused on what he hopes would be Spenny’s worst humiliation to date.

  48. @Anonymous

    they all seem to think that “enormity” is a synonym for “enormous” (Barack Obama made this error not infrequently)

    I kept a list of words that Barack Obama regularly used incorrectly, and enormity was one of them. He said his daughters were “nonplussed” by the attention of the press when he meant unfazed.
 He said “Let me recant” when he meant “Let me reiterate.” He said “fulsome accounting” when he meant full accounting.

    In the foreign policy debate with Romney, he said Al Qaeda has been “decimated,”when he meant devastated, but that word seems to have lost its original meaning.

    Petty of me, I know, but we’re talking about the Smartest President Ever.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  49. Darien says: • Website

    Steve, you are now my new favourite columnist ever. Just when I thought I was the only one still fighting the good fight against the loathsome “singular they,” too!

    One of my contract jobs is to document and analyze video game localizations, and the “singular they” is all-pervading. I’ve encountered far too many instances of a character referring to a third-party by role (say “my assistant”), and then subsequently referring to this assistant as “them.” I get that the localizer doesn’t know if the assistant is male or female, but the character surely does! You’re not going to offend imaginary friends of imaginary cartoon characters by committing the imaginary crime of “misgendering” them, guys!

    And don’t even get me started on “themself.”

  50. Rupert says:

    We have a pronoun for something that isn’t male or female, “it”. What’s wrong with “it”? They’ll say it’s offensive, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not a he or a she then you’re an it.

  51. @anon

    You mean surgically mutilating children’s genitals because their trendy retarded hipster parents are following a fad isn’t a good idea?

    Who’da thunk it?

    The parents are clearly insane. This is child abuse on many levels in my opinion. These kids are brainwashed into the “trans lifestyle” at an early age.

    What is more chilling to me is that some doctor(s?) somewhere thought this was acceptable, maybe even a good idea. These people are supposed to be professionals who do no harm. It seems they’re crazier than the retarded parents. Certainly more dangerous.

    It turns out these are different kids. As far as I can tell Jazz Jennings is not Jazz Stocker-Witterick. No matter, it’s still craziness.

    Thanks for the comment.

  52. @marcustodo

    My proposal for a singular pronoun: it

    Back around 1981, some wag in the Mensa Bulletin suggested combining all three pronouns: s/h/it.

  53. @Harry Baldwin

    …when he meant unfazed.

    It’s really annoying when otherwise smart people write phase for faze. They wasted too much time on Star Trek in their youth.

    He said “fulsome accounting” when he meant full accounting

    Perhaps he was thinking of “Folsom accounting”, which got him elected.

  54. OT (sort of):

    World War Hair rages on: the television at the restaurant I am in reveals that, weary of covering sports, ESPN is now instead focused upon some wrestler in New Jersey who was told by a referee he had to cut his hair. Because the wrestler is a Negro and the hair in the form of “dreadlocks,” the referee was of course suspended by the governing athletic body for two years.

    I should emphasise this was to do with actual wrestling, presumably in high school or college, not the silly – yet more popular – “professional” wrestling. Long hair is of course indeed a dangerous thing in this sport, and I expect if the guy had been a white dude with long, lustrous locks in the manner of the Fabio or the brothers Nelson, we’d have never heard a word about the ordered cutting….

  55. @Reg Cæsar

    Maybe she is not really has only some minor percentage of “black” genes but “identifies” as black, and is gorgeous, in the fashion of Stacy Dash?

    Remember, Obama likes to pretend he is “black,” too.

  56. @Achmed E. Newman

    Quaere: Do the awoken order “Beijing duck” at Chinese restaurants?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  57. @Rosie

    Don’t worry: soon enough it will be ustedes (ain’t nobody among the invaders saying vosotros!) or whatever the equivalents are in Chinese and Hindi all around.

  58. @iffen

    If binary becomes illegal, will we have to give up our computers?

    Or, will fluid computing be a way out?

    The computer is some folks’ significant other:

    Brits Have Less Sex Due to Latest Technologies

    Some even engage in “1000101 ” with their devices:

  59. @Autochthon

    Quaere: Do the awoken order “Beijing duck” at Chinese restaurants?

    After they’ve put on a nice Chennai shirt, kenneled their Nenets husky, and picked up some Myanmar Shave at Walgreen’s.

    But it’s cheaper to eat in and roast a Kernow hen, Livorno rooster, or Türkiye.

    While stroking the Thai cat.

  60. BB753 says:

    It’s sheer madness and parental abuse:

    “But Jazz has wanted to have a vagina since she was a little girl”


  61. MEH 0910 says:

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