How do you feel about the gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/theirs to describe a single person)?

How do you feel about the gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/theirs to describe a single person)?


  • I'm cool with it
    Vote A
  • I'm OK with the concept, but it should be a new word - they is too confusing when used for just one person
    Vote B
  • I think it's weird - people are either female or male so her and him is all we need
    Vote C
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy
Updates:
I think it's interesting that the guys overwhelming think it's weird, while the girls are pretty much evenly divided.

I expected a difference by age, but not as much of a difference by gender.

With almost 100 votes in, the results are still showing a very large percentage of guys (86% at this point) voted for "it's weird" while far fewer girls (38% at this point) voted for that.

I find it very interesting that there's such a big difference.

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Most Helpful Girls

  • I don’t mind it. It could get confusing if you’re not used to it, but if someone I knew preferred those pronouns then I’d happily go with it.
    There is also zee, zem, and zir if the others are harder to remember to use.

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  • In Finnish, which is my native language, we only have gender neutral pronouns so I'm used to the idea and sometimes naturally refer to people with these gender neutral pronouns in English, too.

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    • That's interesting. I didn't know that. The languages I'm familiar with all have gendered pronouns. Are there others you know of that use only gender-neutral pronouns?

    • Not that I know of but then again I only speak four languages. I would assume at least Estonian is the same because it's a close relative to Finnish but I'm not sure since I don't know Estonian. Other languages in the same language family might be the same, like Hungarian. Although that's such a distant relative that I'm not sure about that either.

Most Helpful Guy

  • You know, think about it, why don't we just have one word to refer to people, and use adjectives if necessary.

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    • That's done in Tagalog.

      Tagalog has pronoun ᜐᜒᜌ ("siya"; "sha" or "s'YAH"; 「(s) he/him/her」) for singular and ᜐᜒᜎ ("sila"; "see-LAH"; 「they/them」). As you can imagine, misunderstandings can happen when the names and/or context fail to identify the referred-person's sex. This is where English's more precise pronouns are best. Diluting that is killing English's advantage.

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    • @cipher42 This article draws a number of responses. The example solutions didn't even mention the potential solution of rewriting the sentence.

      「How much can you tell about someone from (?) choice of Wellington boot?」
      Possible solution 001: "How much can be told about someone based on choice of Wellington boot?"
      Possible solution 002: "Choice of Wellington boot reveals who much about the wearer?"

      「If you’re allergic to oils or perfumes, remind your therapist before s/he lays hands on you.」
      Possible solution 001: "Prior to any physical contact, please remind your therapist of any oil- or perfume-allergies you may have."
      Possible solution 002: "Therapists should be reminded of all allergies prior to any treatment."

      It is possible to convey information while still staying grammatically consistent.

      The article does prove the historical usage, but not superiority in terms of establishment. At best, I'd say they're both doable, but I'm still sticking to grammatical consistency.

    • @N192K001 Using singular they is conveying information while staying grammatically consistent, and without any extra effort in reconfiguring the structure of the sentence. Cool if you don't want to use singular they, but that doesn't make it the slightest bit ungrammatical. It's been in use in English for over 600 years, and has outlasted generic he and is rapidly replacing "he or she". If you don't want to use it, no one's making you, but it is a rule of English grammar whether you like it or not.

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What Girls & Guys Said

2139
  • It's stupid and dehumanizing. You're not "they" or "it".

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  • If we need a a gender neutral pronoun, we need a new word (s)

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    • Why create new ones when we already have perfectly functional ones already in use?

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    • This is probably true. But since we don't, what we instead have to do to communicate is acknowledge that not everyone uses language the same way, and that no one set of rules is the "right" one, and then find ways to understand the rules other people use so that we can understand them.

    • Yeah that makes sense

  • I am still getting used to it, but it's fine.

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  • First world problems. If this is the only thing people have to complain about, they should be damn thankful they don't live someplace where they really do have something to complain about. Anyone who worries about this sort of thing is spoiled to the extreme.

    Some people need a good dose of reality. Maybe then they'll stop bitching about the most trivial meaningless nonsense.

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  • It annoys me from a grammatical standpoint to refer to one person as "they," or "them," but if someone really wanted me to call them that, I would or I'd just call them by their name. I've never actually met anyone who insisted on this, so I'm not sure it's something that's going on a lot.

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    • "It annoys me from a grammatical standpoint to refer to one person as "they," or "them," but if someone really wanted me to call them that, I would or I'd just call them by their name"

      Um? Are you aware you just referred to a single person as "them", right after objecting to it? "if someone really wanted me to call THEM that". Was that intentional or were you just not conscious of your own use of singular they?

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    • @cipher42 In this context, if someone said, can you refer to "me" as "them," then this would be a grammatical issue to me that would annoy me, but if that is what they wanted to be called, then that is what they want to be called and ultimately it would not take much for me to call someone "them" if they so desired any more than it would the effort required to use their legal name. I'm not sure what the issue you have with this is, as you have simultaneously not found fault with what I said grammatically and don't believe in good grammar.

    • Yea I figured that's the kind of singular they you meant. Which is fair, like I said that's a grammatical judgement that most English speakers right now pretty much share. Worth noting also that I think that's a different kind of singular they, since using it for a specific person encodes information about their gender (marking them as non-binary) while standard singular they specifically does not encode any information about gender at all.

      My issue was not your grammar, it was that you claimed to find something ungrammatical right before using it yourself. Singular they is a particular pet peeve/favorite topic of mine as I'm writing my senior thesis on it, and it's just so damn easy to prove how very grammatical it really is.

  • It's weird. They/them are plural pronouns, not singular. If you ask me to call you he when you're a she or she when you're a he or they/them, I'm not. That's gender dysphoria, and I don't think we should encourage a mental illness.

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    • They/them have never been strictly plural pronouns, friend. Just like "you" can be both singular and plural, so can "them".

      As for mental illness, your definition is off on that as well, since being transgender is not a mental illness according to any of the relevant authorities.

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    • @cipher42 We are never going to agree on this, so why do you keep fighting. If you really believe in live and let live, let me live, I've never hurt anybody, and I never will. I don't intentionally call people the wrong pronouns to piss them off because I get pleasure in it. I even say that it's totally fine to believe what you believe in, but somehow I think differently than you and we 'badly need a distinction between gender and sex'. Socially, present yourself how you want, but I shouldn't be expected to call you by 'your pronouns'. Free speech is really the only thing I deeply care enough about. If we need this distinction, we have no more free speech.

    • Because your issue doesn't really seem to be disagreement, it seems to be misunderstanding. It's not that you don't agree with my argument, it's that you refuse to understand what my argument is in the first place. That, to me, seems like a solvable issue. And even where we are using the same terms, the issue isn't agreement, it's that you refuse to face reality.

      Also, you're changing the terms of the argument, probably because you've realized you can't win it anywhere else. The issue here has never been about legal issues, you're just making it about that now that you've failed to push the "Boo singular they", the "I don't want to respect pronouns" argument and the "mental illness" argument. The legal issues argument I really don't give a shit about, especially given that all the others have to be resolved before that one can be gotten into. So stop replying if that's really all you care about, but I'd appreciate it if you could at least try to A. actually understand what the term "gender" means, and B. face the fact that intersex people exist, and that sex is by no means strictly binary.

  • Well first you would have to show that gender is some how "neutral" which of course we can't because all data on the subject shows conclusively and with no room for argument, that their are only two genders. That's the issue with this, they are claiming a premise is true but not actually proving it (in fact the existence of transgender people alone proves unequivocally that gender exists and its biological in nature (as one cannot be socially conditioned to be one gender yet innately feel like a different one unless their is a biological component to gender and thus gender itself exists as an objectively measurable thing)). Second, they them their are all referring to groups, I don't care what you feel, you don't identify as a group, period. Third, the notion of it being forced upon others is despicable and a sign of extreme authoritarian inclinations i. e. its politically motivated as well as being motivated by people who want to feel special and unique (they are not). I am entirely against it on multiple levels.

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    • First: I'm curious what data you're talking about specifically. Second: Strictly untrue, "they" has been used as a singular pronoun in English for over 400 years, and existed in middle English in a different form as well. Third: Are there any instances in the US of it actually being forced on people? Like in a legal sense? If not, what do you mean?

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    • Seems like you're just trying to shift the argument now that you've lost the one on grammar. Why else did you first claim that the argument wasn't worth having, then suddenly change your mind once you lost the argument we we're having?

    • @cipher42 I did not lose the one on grammer. As I said their are conditions namely unknowns where its used, just like we use to use he/him as a neutral term for an unknown. My argument was not taking into account unknowns as that seemed rather pointless as I wouldn't be addressing them if I did not know them. Also, you ignored everything else so lets not try to pull that bullshit, shall we? You ignored the data and just pretended like it didn't exist, I then said I don't really care about the grammer argument because its the least relevant one in my opinion, then you ignored the third argument trying to downplay it as if it wasn't legislating speech even though it most definitely was and you ultimately acknowledged as much. Now YOU are trying to argue that I am trying to change the subject? I told you why I put up with this kind of bullshit because you asked me why, that's it. I answered you question, I showed that my reasoning was sound in my arguments, the only "exception" being the grammer one (which you attempted to fixate on) because unknowns are also refered to as they and you decided to remove all context to that to try and justify your entire position even as you ignored literally everything else that your position hinged on i. e. the evidence that gender is not biological (it is) and that it is amorphous (its not). Once that was shown to not be the case any argument about the "grammer" is utterly moot, the foundation being disproven.

  • You don't get to dictate what someone is to refer to you as. If you're a man you're a man, if you're a woman you're a woman. I couldn't care less if you blow up in my face for not entertaining your delusion. Good luck trying to force me.
    And I don't care about all the, "you're a *insert* phobic" whiners or all the devils advocates complaining about it "not doing any harm", yes it does. Huge harm.

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  • I disagree with it.

    Plural on 1 person…? What arrogance is this to demand the treatment of a group? In my language of Tagalog, plural of respect is ONLY used on superiors, elders, and other people above us. Such treatment is EARNED. And these "gender-neutral" people want this respect just because‽

    If they are elders, superiors, etc., sure… but only in Tagalog! Otherwise, English rules of grammar prevail in English conversations.

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    • English rules of grammar are that "they/them" pronouns are totally normal for singular entities. Like, consider that English also uses "you" both as singular and as plural, because we've long since stopped using "thou" (which used to be our singular/informal version of "you"). Maybe don't complain about grammar when you don't actually understand it yourself.

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    • @cipher42 Prescriptive sources are my authority.

      Fads come and go, but the rules that withstand the test of time deserve to be used into the future, despite the temporal fads of the time. They are far more consistent with the grammars of other languages and make learning English and/or other languages easier.

    • Prescriptive sources prescribe singular they as being grammatical.

      Singular they is a rule that has withstood the test of time (used by Chaucer 600 years ago, used by Shakespeare 400 years ago, used by Jane Austin 200 years ago, used today). Prescriptions against singular they on the other hand have failed the test of time (prescriptive sources used to prescribe against it, now prescribe for it).

  • Unless there are two or more people involved, I’m not referring to anyone by a plural pronoun.

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    • It ain't a plural pronoun any more than "you" is.

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    • We can agree to disagree, so tell me how using so-called “gender-neutral” pronouns they/them/theirs benefits the language?

    • I mean, we can, but I'll still be right. Like, trust me, I'm a linguist, and I'm writing my senior thesis specifically on singular they (not the non-binary use mostly, but how a plural-ish pronoun came to be used in a singular way and what the linguistic mechanisms behind that are.)

      It benefits the language because there's tons of instances where you're talking about something that's agentive, so you can't use "it", but which you don't know the gender of or which doesn't have a gender. See the examples I provided, with antecedents like "Google" or "the court". Even SCOTUS decisions use "they" to refer to Congress.

      Nowadays, singular they even gets used for antecedents like "my friend" or "my cousin" in a non-non-binary sense (though if you refer to a named person as "they" that does still indicate that they specifically use "they/them" pronouns). I think the benefit there is to indicate either that the specific person is unknown, or just to avoid providing unnecessary and potentially distracting info about gender (like saying "a book" rather than "a green book" because extra specification is unnecessary)

  • I'm okay with it. I only use those when I'm not sure about someone's gender. Sounds funny I know but for example I'm in a conversation about some country's president who I don't know of. Could be a man, could be a woman and I don't wanna end up saying "she" only to find out later that the person is a "he".

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  • Don't care; if that's what they want then fine. I think it's kind of dumb, but I can do it if that's what they want, as long as they chill the fuck out if I get it wrong.

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  • I don’t mind. If someone were to ask me to refer to them as their preferred gender neutral pronouns then I’d respect that. I mean, it doesn’t hurt me at all to be nice and it makes the other person happy. So it’s really not a big deal to me.

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  • Hello, my name is who gives a fuck, and I don't care about your pronouns, because this is stupid, unnecessary, and just…wrong.
    If anyone expects from me to respect that, then…well, ain't gonna happen. 2 reasons, I already described one. So, let's just say, I'll go on board with this. I will forget how to address who. I have no memory, basically. I don't remember your face, name, let alone put these 2 things together, and you want me to address you in some special way? :-D Foolish.

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  • I have my personal opinions about the whole gender-neutral concept, and the pronouns are indeed kind of weird to use? But it's literally not hurting anyone so I don't care

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  • As long as someone makes me aware of their preferred pronouns before I accidentally missus a pronoun that they don't prefer, I have not issues with people having pronouns

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  • People have the right to identify as whatever they choose in pursuit of happiness. It becomes a problem when demanding that I use language which conforms to their lifestyle.

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  • Don't care. I have better things to do than sitting around clutching pearls because somebody wants to be called something I'm not used to.

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  • All irregular pronouns that aren't she her hers or he him his are a product of moral decay and should be squashed. Sure there are more women in favor if it, since women are consistently more liberal than men.

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    • What on earth is an "irregular pronoun" and how is the existence of non-gendered ones a sign of moral decay?

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    • So then your objection is not to gender neutral pronouns at all, or even to "they" being used as a singular, only to "they" being used as a gender-specified singular pronoun. So "someone left their jacket here" is fine, or even perhaps "my friend left their jacket here", but "Sara left their jacket here" is not in your book, yes?

    • @cipher42 : You could say "Sara left their jacket there" and I'd be fine with it. However, if you insisted that I myself use that awkward phraseology which I wouldn't even remember to do, that would be a problem. And if a biological female who looks female expects me to call her him, I reject that crap, along with Mx. , zir, and that nonsense.

  • i think it's bullshit and i'm not gonna comply to it. what pronouns i use emerges from a social discourse in which i evaluate as what gender they strike me most and i'll use the pronoun that i see fit. they don't get to choose what words i use.

    the only way to change my decision is for example me calling them "she" and them whipping out a penis, asking to be called "he" in that case i will correct the pronoun i use.

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  • There's two uses of singular they that should be distinguished here- the use specific to non-binary people and the use for any individual with an unspecified gender. I support both, but need to point out that while the unspecified use is 110% grammatical and has been for a LONG time, the non-binary use is much newer and thus not as comfortable for most people's grammar, though that by no means means that it's "wrong". Like, if I say "someone left their scarf in my car" that's absolutely perfectly normal and grammatical, and doesn't give any information whatsoever about the person's gender. But if I say "Sara left their scarf in my car", that feels a bit weirder, and indicates that Sara is non-binary/uses "they/them" pronouns specifically. Again, I support both uses, but as far as grammaticality goes there is a distinction, which we probably shouldn't just gloss over.

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  • I think it's weird - people are either female or male so her and him is all we need

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  • It's retarded, literally. This gender confusion needs to stop. Honestly it's like these individuals are doing it for the attention or to be in pop culture.

    People are acting like this stuff is new but it's been going on for thousands of years. Men trying to be women and vice versa. It's all good, but still it's either he/she.

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  • I don't mind it. No big deal to me. Just don't get mad if I forget and use the wrong pronoun lol

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  • I'd feel weird calling someone they, it's just grammatically incorrect. I don't care what people call themselves.

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  • Yeah, not about to start using gender neutral pronouns.

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  • I'm sorry, I'm not going to confirm to your mental disorder, if that makes you uncomfortable, or offends you, that's your fault..

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  • I'm a horrible person for saying this but no. I would not use they them. My friend asked me to and I don't

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  • It's one of the most petty subjects I've seen people fight about, it will not change anything except getting our language all messed up

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  • If I know whom I'm talking about, then I use he or she.

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  • Individual people wanting to be referred to as "they, them, their's" is complete insanity

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    • We already refer to individual people as "them" or "they", friend. "Someone in this class didn't do their homework right" "To each their own"

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    • Friend, when it comes to grammar, the only "insanity" is insisting that the rules aren't what they really are, which is what you're doing here. You don't like singular they existing, so you claim it's crazy to use it, even though there's nothing crazy about speaking English according to the well-established rules it follows.

    • @cipher42 We're just wasting time here. Over and Out.

  • i feel its got a little out of hand with the "infinite genders" concept

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  • Does not exist in my language. We gender everything. Even objects. We only have he/she/it

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    • Language is made up.
      Check this bitch fit about how using you isn't as good as the singular thou from 1714
      How do you feel about the gender-neutral pronouns (they/them/theirs to describe a single person)?

  • I genuinely don't care. I don't get why so many snowflakes get so agitated over this stuff.

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  • Re-tar-ded.
    People are either "he" or "she", or in some languages a term that describes both. I mix "he" and "she" constantly anyways.

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  • It’s retarted. Use the pronouns asigned to your gender

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  • I don't give a shit. People shouldn't complain about having to expand their vocabulary.

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  • I never quite understood what all the brouhaha was about.

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  • Just got to know about this stuff 2 days ago
    I'm still finding it weird

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  • I think it's weird - people are either female or male so her and him is all we need

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  • I don’t really give a fuck, they can do whatever if it doesn’t affect others negatively

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  • You are a man or a woman. That's it.

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  • I think it’s weird

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    • If you’re a guy then I’m calling you a he, if you’re a girl then I’m calling you she. I don’t care what you identify as that’s your business not mine.

  • I'm totally cool with it.
    xx
    ~ Mrs Manson

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  • It's obnoxious.

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  • They them thiers are for a group, plural.

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    • What, just like "you"? Oh wait, that can be used for both. Huh, evidently grammar ain't quite so much on your side as ya think.

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    • You can use "he/she" if you want, just don't try and tell other people what's grammatical when you're clearly wrong.

    • I dont think im wrong.

      And English language has many forms.
      We use significant words while referring, cause generalization is not our thing.

      And i did not tell you anything to begin with. I just wrote my opinion. Keep your knowledge to yourself and tell it to those who are willing to listen.
      If you could excuse the peace of my mind from your arguments, i would be glad.

  • It's weird

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  • yawn

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  • Those are all plural 😂

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    • They/them/theirs can be both plural and singular friendo.

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    • So basically, you are arguing that because a small group of individual in America use it as slang that it suddenly becomes proper usage of the word?

      It appears there is no more point in us debating as no new information has been presented.

      Clearly neither of us will be budging here.

    • That becomes proper usage in that dialect, sure. There's more than one variety of English. But as far as singular they is concerned, it's pretty firmly established in most varieties of English, making it pretty standard, so much so that even dictionaries list it as a valid use.

  • Anyone who say that I assume they are stupid. lol

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