The pronoun controversy

In Florida, Governor DeSantis has taken on the woke world, as you may know. Now he has signed legislation that prohibits teachers from quizzing students on their pronoun preferences. HB 1069 states that “a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait,” and “it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.” This is one of a group of bills the governor calls “Let Kids Be Kids.”

Well, I may not be a student any longer, but as a former English major, I am by turns amused and outraged by the pronoun controversy that seems to pop up almost daily.

I keep thinking, “What’s the matter with everybody?”

Among the pronouns that people seem enamored of is “they,” a plural pronoun that refers to more than one individual. But some people seem to think it’s OK to use “they” in a situation that is clearly singular. Here’s an example: A man went into a bar, and they ordered a beer.

Excuse me?

I looked over this guy’s shoulder, expecting to see at least a small group of beer drinkers. But no. Apparently, “they” was used either because the writer wanted to appear cool by today’s woke standards or because it was just too much trouble to be correct and write, “he ordered a beer.”

I do not intend to become embroiled in the pronoun controversy. However, if I’m wearing my “editor hat,” you can be sure that I’m going to correct any woke-inspired pronouns I find. Every time.

1 thought on “The pronoun controversy”

  1. As a writer, I struggle with this “modernism” too: The police officer walked into the bar, he/she…. The use of the pronoun slash pronoun is awkward – a stumble to the reader. Even in religious writings I’ve seen: G-d said, he/she would….


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