gender prounouns

The AP Style Guide Now Recognizes Non-Binary Gender Pronouns

The Associated Press Style Guide, a grammar and usage manual widely used by writers and journalists, now recognizes the use of pronouns for people of non-binary gender.

Formerly, the style guide forbade the use of “they” as a singular pronoun, as in sentences like “If the driver isn’t careful, they might get into an accident.” Editors considered the practice incorrect, even though it’s normal in everyday speech.

But now, the AP Style Guide is permitting the use of singular “they” for people of non-binary gender.

The style guide now reads:

In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible. If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person.

The style guide does not recognize genderless pronouns like “xe” or “ze.”

But still, this is a major sign of progress, both for LGBTQ rights and for linguistics. Grammar mavens have resisted singular “they” for centuries. It takes a lot to change their minds.

  • Chris Fox

    It’s going to take a lot more than the AP style guide to change my mind. Running into an instance of the singular they is like walking into a telephone pole. It’s jarring, and it leaves a headache in its wake.

    Speakers of Russian, German, Finnish and most European languages have to plan out sentences with matching criteria like gendered nouns, complex declension, reflexive and irregular verbs with complicated conjugation. English asks only for number agreement and the AP has just declared this optional,

    I’ve known three men who were undergoing gender reassignment. I can tell you that not a one of them wanted to be referred to as “they.” We got by with the generic “he” for centuries and while this may have been unfair to the sort of woman who used “womon” it didn’t knock out anyone’s teeth.

    To use a plural relative pronoun in reference to a singular subject is offensive to people who care about grammar.

  • Vicky McCarthy

    You have a pretty large vocabulary for a small-minded fuck.

  • Chris Fox

    Tell me the fish bicycle thing again

  • Chris Georgas

    If you could stop being so disrespectful, okay thanks.

  • Vicky McCarthy