/Tag: grammar

The history of gendered pronouns.

Interesting look, from a linguist, on where these come from and what purpose they serve.


But then, in the late 18th century, grammarians started recommending that people use he as a gender nonspecific pronoun because they was ostensibly plural, as part of the grand tradition of awkwardly shoehorning English grammar into Latin which has caused many of your present grammatical insecurities, and which I’m totally sure had nothing whatsoever to do with the patriarchy. Many excellent writers proceeded to ignore them and kept using singular they, just as English-speakers had been doing for some four hundred years by that point, although the more easily intimidated types (er, axe to grind, who, me?) and a whole bunch of style manuals did end up adopting generic he.

2016-05-14T11:17:19+10:0030th July, 2014|Tags: culture, english, grammar, language|