July 08, 2010

"singular they is just not that big of a deal"

Like Eric Baković, a linguist who writes for LanguageLog, I'm a fan of David Pogue's tech reviews in the Times. And like him, I'm thinking that it's perhaps a good thing that Pogue is not writing the "On Language" column. Here's a quote from his recent review of a book on the Facebook phenomenon.
Kirkpatrick’s writing is low-key but also workmanlike, and punctuated by jarring grammatical constructions (“Everybody carried their stuff themselves”; “every Thefacebook user had their own public bulletin board”). Ouch.
Who in this day and age gets thrown off by singular they? Or at any time, really? But, to adapt a quote from the novel Vanity Fair (1848), linked on Wikipedia, a person can't help their tastes. (Or can they?)

No comments: