© 2023 KUNR
An illustrated mountainscape with trees and a broadcast tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gender Pronouns And The History Of 'They'

A dictionary definition of they. (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)
A dictionary definition of they. (Rachel Rohr/Here & Now)

The use of the word “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun is gaining wider acceptance, even among copy editors. But linguist and Wall Street Journal columnist Ben Zimmer says the use of the universal pronoun ‘they’ is nothing new.

Zimmer tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that writers including Chaucer and Shakespeare have used “they” instead of he or she. But will modern-day English speakers adapt their style to incorporate “they”?


Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.