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The Reality and Necessity of Teaching Singular THEY
M. H. Brown
Kanda University of International Studies
Singular THEY, the use of THEY/THEIR/THEM with singular referents, is not without critics. Nonetheless, it has been a common construction for centuries, and its formal acceptability has recently been increasing. This acceptability has largely been driven by the need for a gender-neutral third person pronoun in English. This presentation will discuss recent changes in singular THEY's perceived acceptability, its role in gender-neutral language, and its extension to species-neutral language. The presentation will highlight illustrative, real-world occurrences of singular THEY, and will discuss why singular THEY should not be ignored or dismissed in the teaching and learning of English.