Everybody loves their singular ‘their’

Wolfangel posted this discussion and this link about singular ‘they’/’their’ today. Brandon at Siris also discussed this some days ago.

I think it’s high time there was a concerted campaign to reinstate this singularly useful construction to respectability in the English language. We all use it informally, but as Brandon says, it would be frowned on in the formal context of a philosophy essay (I’m not sure about other disciplines? It’s obvious from the foregoing that I’d have no problem with it in a history paper…). If the greats of English literature (and several centuries of English writers and speakers before grammarians arbitrarily decided against it) could use it, why not us?

Lead by example! Use it in your papers/articles/books! And if your teachers/copy-editors complain, just tell them, well, what’s good enough for Shakespeare, Jane Austen, C S Lewis, the King James Bible, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walt Whitman, George Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, H. G. Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton, W. H. and George Orwell…

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