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The Washington Post reports some terrific news:

Singular “they,” the gender-neutral pronoun, has been named the Word of the Year by a crowd of over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday evening.

….The Post’s style guide ratified this usage last month, which caused some grammar pedants to shriek. But as Post copy editor Bill Walsh explained, the singular they is “the only sensible solution to English’s lack of a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun.”

OK, so we can now say:

  • I talked to Pat, and they said the sofa was on its way.
  • Pat said their sofa had been promised for tomorrow.
  • Pat came over, and I talked to them about when the sofa would arrive.

Takes some getting used to, doesn’t it? But I’m all for it. I will celebrate the day when gendered pronouns are gone for good.

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If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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