Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Pronoun Acceptance at the Highest Level

I just read a post on FB that has me a little confused.  A best-selling and renown author was talking about the word 'they' and how Merriam-Webster has made it the word of the year.  Apparently, it's now socially acceptable to use 'they' to refer to a single person.  The author also notes that it's been used this way for 600 years and then says that this is a 'game changer' for writers.


If it's been used that way for 600 years, how is the dictionary giving it the okee-dokee a game changer?  I mean, my editor can stop pointing out instances where I use 'they' instead of 'he or she', which I ignore anyway.  If, in my writing, it's not definite whether an individual is a guy or a gal, I refer to the individual as 'them' or 'they'.  Been doing it pretty much all my writing life.

Okay, I know there's a certain segment of the culture pushing to get rid of gender-specific pronouns.  I ignore them, too.  In a book I read recently, a minor character gets snotty when the MC refers to her as Ms - trying to impress upon him that he should refer to her as Mx (pronounced Mix) because that's how she identifies.  Like he was supposed to know that before he met her.  And like he'd give a rat's ass, especially since he was never going to see her again.

By the way, look at all those gender-specific pronouns up there.  I should probably go flagellate myself with a wet noodle or something.  :yawn:

Here's a funny.  I have a deep voice.  There have been many times on the phone where someone has mistaken me for a man.  (Can't mistake me for a man in person.  I have too big a rack for that.)  In those cases, I say my name and they think I've said Jeff or Seth, because my deep voice gives them the impression that I am male.  And every time that happens?  I laugh. 

More people need to laugh, I think.

This game changer doesn't change a damn thing for me.  And it makes me a little sad that it would be a game changer for others.  Maybe they're constantly berated by their publishers and editors for their misuse of a pronoun and have to change it or face dire consequences.  (Not sure cuz I don't have a publisher and my editor is cool.)  Or maybe they're so 'socially conscious' they feel bad using the wrong pronouns for fictional characters.  Or maybe they're worried that their readers will be offended by the wrong pronouns for their fictional characters.  :shrug: 

If someone refers to you by a pronoun that doesn't fit, you've got two choices: move on or throw a hissy fit.   I guarantee, you'll live longer by moving on then by doing the hissy fit. 

They, them, he, she, him, her... it's all good, baby.  But for pitysakes, don't say 'it'.  That just pisses everyone off.  ;o)

And for the record, I will never use the trendy made-up pronouns.  Unless I'm doing what that other author did and using it to make a point about a certain character.  In that case, it worked perfectly to show that individual's character succinctly. 


  1. Wow - interesting about the 'they' in writing! Your editor only points it out because it's her job to point it out...she (probably ;) knows you will ignore her! Your editor also points it out in every published book she reads, but continues reading just the same!
    Mx? OK, that is totally new to me!

    1. And might I point out how much I love my editor? :hugs: And I love how she points things out because I pay attention to everything she points out. I'd be stupid not to. Because she's like awesome and junk. =o)

  2. *rubs temples* This just makes me...I don't know. My head hurts too much. The whole debate just makes me want to pour a drink and curl up with a politically incorrect book. Ah well. Don't even get me started on all the other carp floating around. Makes me want to not go fishing in that pool. 🤯

    My editor is like your editor. We're lucky like that. 😉 Happy Hump Day. And I'll just keep on keepin' on. Move along, folks, nothing to see here. 😏

  3. Much ado about nothing. Years ago I used s/he, but I gave up on it. They works better, even when it's awkward. I agree, don't use it -- unless the character claims to have no gender.

    I hadn't heard of Mx. I rather like it, but won't use it unless I come up with a character like the OP's. I guess it's an offshoot of Latinx? But SA young people seem to be using Latine instead of Latino or Latina.

    Language changes are fascinating.