Last week’s post included discussion of passive voice. Before we get started with new material, I want to tell you about an affordable resource on passive voice. Author Dianne E. Butts, a long-time subscriber, reminded me that she offers the Kindle version of Cutting the Passive Voice: How to Convert Passive Voice to Active Voice to Improve and Add Power to Your Writing on Amazon for 99 cents. She said, when she first started writing, conference teachers would say not to use passive voice, and she didn’t really know what they were talking about. So now, she’s offering this booklet to help beginners.
Information: “Singular They”
As a writer, you might ask what is “singular they?” Isn’t that a contradiction? After all, “they” is plural. Well maybe not any more. In a recent article (here), The Washington Post announced that “they/their” used as singular would be adopted in the paper’s official style guide. Example:
Every child needs to know their school is safe.
Weren’t we taught that singular pronouns go with singular nouns and plural with plural? The above sentence, by the old guidelines, would read:
Every child needs to know his or her school is safe.
Another option would be:
Children need to know their schools are safe.
The reason for using “their” as singular is rooted in the quest for gender-neutral pronouns. Heaven forbid that we should say “he or she.” So far, the other most-used style guides for books and magazines have not approved “singular they.” In a recent discussion in an online editing group, some editors were all for it, while others, like me, were resistant to this change.
Use the links below to read articles on this usage in:
Inspiration: Photo Praise
This summer, we went to Glacier National Park in northwest Montana. The mountains are always intimidating to me because our town’s elevation is about 300 feet above sea level. Compare that to 6,000 or 7,000 feet, and you see why I’m awed by the mountains. Here’s a photo that I took at St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier NP.
This view brought to mind an excerpt from a psalm of praise:
In his hand are the depths of the earth:
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! Psalm 95:4-6 (ESV)
Readers, how to do you feel about “singular they?” Have you had Bible verses come to mind when you visited a beautiful place? Comment on this post and share thoughts. If you get this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.
Photo source (grammar): https://pixabay.com/en/grammar-magnifier-magnifying-glass-389907/
Photo source: lake scene, Emily M. Akin, 2016.