Singular they may make grammarians cringe, but it is officially being recognized as the word of the year by over 200 linguists at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting in Washington D.C. The vote overwhelmingly supported the word which is often used to identify individuals who don’t feel comfortable using gender-specific pronouns like he or she. They beat out slang like “thanks, Obama” and “on fleek.”
Mainstream media like The Washington Post officially adopted the singular they into their style guide in 2015, and other media is also jumping on board to help properly identify people don’t fall on the gender spectrum.
“We know about singular they already — we use it everyday without thinking about it, so this is bringing it to the fore in a more conscious way, and also playing into emerging ideas about gender identity,” said linguist Ben Zimmer, language columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who presided over the voting this Friday afternoon. [WaPo]