Making a case for a singular ‘they’


I am definitely on team revise-to-avoid-using-“they”-as-a-singular-pronoun, but the 2017 edition of the AP Stylebook (the industry standard writing guide for journalists) acknowledges the limited use of “they” as a singular pronoun.

As always, the goal is clarity, not rigid adherence to a rule.

They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. —AP Definitive Source

One thought on “Making a case for a singular ‘they’

  1. I’m also on your team with this one!! I do have to admit that I’m a first-generation immigrant, English was my third language … and I tend to be a bit obsesstive-compulsive :) .

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