Letters to the Editor: ‘They’ as a singular pronoun sounds odd, and it has nothing to do with gender

Merriam-Webster's word of the year for 2019 was the singular "they."
(Nathan K. Martin / Associated Press)

To the editor: The only issue I have with the acceptance of the singular “they” is that it is not used with a singular verb. Without exception, the examples provided in Jen Manion’s op-ed article describing the historical development of the singular, gender-neutral form of “they” pair the pronoun with a plural verb.

Although it is awkward-sounding to our ear now, perhaps to be truly accurate, we should distinguish the singular from the plural usage by pairing “they” with the appropriate verb to make the language accurate.

Robert J. Switzer, West Hollywood



To the editor: Language is descriptive but also prescriptive. Words have denotations and connotations.

That Merriam-Webster has chosen the singular “they” as its 2019 word of the year speaks of a language that is growing in inclusiveness and open-mindedness. It’s a prescription for an evolving and healthier society.

And that’s medicine I find easy to swallow.

Ben Miles, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Many people, transgender or not, use “they” as a personal pronoun.

For example, when President Trump states, “They are saying ...,” we all know he’s referring only to himself.

Norman H. Green, Los Angeles