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Singular they

From Teflpedia

Singular they is the use of the 3rd person plural pronoun set in the singular, to refer to a single person, in contrast both to its original plural they usage and to generic they usage. “They" has common gender to cover the possibility that the person’s grammatical gender may be either masculine or feminine. In this case the person’s natural gender may be unclear, non-binary or unimportant.

There are actually two distinct uses of the singular they in English; generic singular they and specific singular they.

Some conservative prescriptive style guides proscribe this usage, especially from formal writing and often propose use of common he instead. Other alternatives include he/she or he or she. Descriptivist linguists however accept that this is commonly used. It was Word of the year in 2015[1] and added to Merriam Webster dictionary in 2019[2]

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