Saturday, October 04, 2003

Raging Jess links to an article that argues for the use of "they" as the third-person singular gender-neutral pronoun in place of "he." What I find most maddening about such suggestions is that they seem more interested in trying to score points in the gender wars that, presumably, still rage in some obscure parts of the world than in suggesting that better writing would, in almost every case, make the whole question moot.

The article in question uses as an example the ad copy, "Everyone's having the time of their lives at Mammamia's." That could simply be written as "People are having the time of their lives at Mammamia's" or "You'll have the time of your life at Mammamia's."

This seems, to me, a lot like the problem with split infinitives; proscriptive grammar aside, most sentences read better (at least to me) when infinitives are not split and the rare exceptions (ie, "To boldly go...") are precisely that: rare.

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