Associated Press: We Will Now Sometimes Refer to Single Persons as "They"

The one use of 'they' where this makes a kind of sense is not, of course, the one they're using it for. That use is as a pronoun for "someone," "anyone," "a person," or similar constructions that are technically single, but also not strictly single as they could refer to many different individuals. "No one," for example, refers literally not even to a single person, but in the same act invokes every person. It makes a kind of sense to use a plural pronoun in these cases, e.g., "If anyone wants to join the expedition, they should send notice by Friday."

No, the AP means to do it as a half-step between applying logic and accepting a duty to refer to people by "preferred pronouns."
In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person.
So, 'avoid this nonsense as far as you can, but if you absolutely cannot, at least make clear that you're dealing with someone who absolutely refuses to be referred to in standard English.' Making them sound like difficult weirdos should do wonders for the acceptance of *trans* persons!


Eric Blair said...

I solved this a long time ago, with 'you people' (which I guess, has certain connotations is some part of the country), or 'that person', or 'a person', or 'that individual', or the person's actual name as in 'Snowy McSnowflake is upset again'.

Cass said...

Or you could really drive them nuts by using, "y'all" :p

Ymar Sakar said...

Got to love Orwell.

It's a manual now.

Grim said...

"If anyone wants to join the expedition, ya'll send notice by Friday."

Ymar Sakar said...

I call em humans. There's also zombies.