• Welcome to The Cave of Dragonflies forums, where the smallest bugs live alongside the strongest dragons.

    Guests are not able to post messages or even read certain areas of the forums. Now, that's boring, don't you think? Registration, on the other hand, is simple, completely free of charge, and does not require you to give out any personal information at all. As soon as you register, you can take part in some of the happy fun things at the forums such as posting messages, voting in polls, sending private messages to people and being told that this is where we drink tea and eat cod.

    Of course I'm not forcing you to do anything if you don't want to, but seriously, what have you got to lose? Five seconds of your life?

Languages

Eloi

Member
The correct gender neutral non-dehumanizing singular third person pronoun is "one", based off the French "on".

As in:
Third Person, Feminine, Singular: "She doesn't really like manila folders, which is how I came to the conclusion her folder is pink."
Third Person, Gender Neutral, Singular: "One doesn't really like manila folders, which is how I came to the conclusion one's folder is pink."

If it helps you can append "that" to all instances of one, but it is not necessary. It can go a long way to make it sound better tho'.

"That one doesn't really like manila folders, which is how I came to the conclusion that one's folder is pink."
 

Tailsy

if the nineth lion ate the sun.
Pronoun
she
The issue there is that 'one' sounds like you're the Queen and that would just make people laugh.

@Leafpool: then they are silly for thinking that English doesn't change over time!
 

Eloi

Member
The issue there is that 'one' sounds like you're the Queen and that would just make people laugh.
I don't get it, what is Queen-y about it? I suppose if I were in a country with a Queen I'd know, but that is not the case.
 

Kratos Aurion

beep beep coming through
Pronoun
any
Can't think of a favorite English word, but I do rather like Italian sciagurata.

I don't think using "one" sounds comparable to the royal we or anything like that; I just think it sounds generally terrible in anything other than formal writing. I agree that strict grammarians need to get over the use of singular they.

...Actually, just the other day I heard someone suggest simply pluralizing the subject--"readers will find that they" instead of "the reader will find that he/she/it/one/asdfasdf"--which I guess works, but obviously that doesn't always work. Singular they, man. Just deal with it.
 
Last edited:

Tailsy

if the nineth lion ate the sun.
Pronoun
she
It's totally Queen-y. :( You guys just don't live with a monarchy.

I just want to be all like, 'bitch shut up' to EXTREME GRAMMAR PEOPLE. I mean, it's English. We're just making this shit up.
 

Eloi

Member
It's totally Queen-y. :( You guys just don't live with a monarchy.

I just want to be all like, 'bitch shut up' to EXTREME GRAMMAR PEOPLE. I mean, it's English. We're just making this shit up.
Make shit up?

I disacorden an-uppon Þis, ænglis chaungyng is a domb conceipt!
 

Autumn

bye
Pronoun
she
And I thought "buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" was impressive.
Theoretically the buffalo sentence can be extended infinitely... although, unlike the Chinese one, the meaning is pretty simple and non-complex.
 

Ruby

Night can outbalance day
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
...I think you're getting a bit mixed up about what "one" means.
 

Dannichu

Tragically unbeyachted.
I completely overuse "one" in my essays. I use it as a sort of abstract person who might-or-might-not have an opinion on things - I'll do anything to avoid saying "I" or "you" in an academic setting. So they're full of "One could argue...", "Assuming this to be correct, one might..." and so on.

I do feel a bit like Queen Lizzy when I do it, though.

I like words that end in -age. 'Signage' and 'drainage' are particularly pleasing to me. I like to think this fondness has, in part, contributed to my love of Buffy, since the characters seem to enjoy adding this suffix to every word ever (slayage, speakage, sparkage, etc.).
 

Butterfree

Still loves Joltik, though!
Staff member
Pronoun
she/her
"It" isn't gender-neutral; it's lack of gender. You can't talk about someone you don't know as an "it."

"Someone's at the door; can you get it for it?"

"They" qualifies but some people don't like it. And those people are the ones in charge of making style manuals. :/ And I love singular they, I love it so much!
The amusing thing is this problem can actually be solved by more gendering! In Icelandic, just having a noun refer to the guest would unambiguously specify that you'd refer to them by a pronoun of a particular gender, no matter what the sex or gender of the actual person at the door is.

"Það er gestur fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir honum."

"Það er manneskja fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir henni."

"Það er fólk fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir því."
 

Shiny Grimer

Active member
Pronoun
she/her, they/them
Because people who make style manuals are KINGS OF ENGLISH GRAMMAR *eyeroll*
I... didn't mean that they were the kings or even that I thought what they said matters. What's in those style manuals matters because people will judge your grammar based off what's in them. A lot of people think that singular "they" is just plain wrong. Even if they use it in speech and aren't aware of it.

If you don't like 'it' (which is fair enough), I don't see what's wrong with 'them' and 'they'; they don't specify a gender, but aren't 'dehumanising'. They're just pronouns of cool or something.
I don't get it either. It's usually an objection along the lines of "but they is a plural pronoun!"

The correct gender neutral non-dehumanizing singular third person pronoun is "one", based off the French "on".

If it helps you can append "that" to all instances of one, but it is not necessary. It can go a long way to make it sound better tho'.

"That one doesn't really like manila folders, which is how I came to the conclusion that one's folder is pink."
"One" is gender-neutral but it's not gender-neutral in the way you're thinking of. It's used to refer to something in an objective way, not to refer to other people. You can't say "someone's at the door; can you get it for one?" And "that one" is pretty dehumanizing; it sounds like you're talking about a chair.

"Það er gestur fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir honum."

"Það er manneskja fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir henni."

"Það er fólk fyrir utan, opnaðu fyrir því."
Would that be like "That's a guest from outside, open it for him"?
 
Last edited:

Pikachu

Kelp is good! Yum yum!
Pronoun
he
I'm fluent in English and I speak and read Arabic rather well (writing needs a bit of practice).

As for French, my writing skills are all right. When it comes to reading, I can read rather well but I wouldn't understand any of it. Speaking is just a disaster.
 

Ruby

Night can outbalance day
Staff member
Pronoun
he/him
"One" is gender-neutral but it's not gender-neutral in the way you're thinking of. It's used to refer to something in an objective way, not to refer to other people. You can't say "someone's at the door; can you get it for one?" And "that one" is pretty dehumanizing; it sounds like you're talking about a chair.
Exactly.
 

Tailsy

if the nineth lion ate the sun.
Pronoun
she
@Eloi: I'm not even going to deign that with an answer.

The point is that people who 100% pay attention to style manuals are morons. It's English, every rule can be subverted and kicked to the corner if that's what you want to do. If 'they' has commonly become used as a singular pronoun, then it can be used acceptably as a singular pronoun. It's like how 'whom' has fallen out of fashion - technically using 'who' in its place it grammatically incorrect, but anyone who cares is so behind the times they're squashed in its buttcheeks. 8|
 
Top