Proving that the quest for high scores on the SAT is as tragically unhip as ever, The Princeton Review is making headlines for setting off a grammar grudge match with pop sensation Taylor Swift. Swift’s lyrics are not only included in a section on pronoun agreement errors, they’re misquoted (although as Eugene Volokh points out at WaPo, this doesn’t seem to have changed the grammatical point in question). The debate over using “they” as a singular pronoun (“somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them,” quoth Swift) remains as ferocious as ever....more
Posts Tagged: pronouns
I would never have consented to writing the story using a gendered pronoun for Sasha, but when that approach was rejected, writing without using pronouns at all seemed like a good solution. It was challenging to write that way without it being awkward, but it also felt a bit like writing formal poetry — the constraints can end up making you more creative.
It always feels like society is crumbling when big linguistic changes occur, but as Megan Garber points out, even notorious grammar stickler William Safire advised rewriting sentences to avoid using the objective-case equivalent of “who.”
If “whom” really did die out, traditionalists would mourn, but at least they wouldn’t have to deal with people overcorrecting in an attempt to sound formal....more
“Men and women use language differently because they negotiate their worlds differently. Across dozens and dozens of studies, women tend to talk more about other human beings. Men, on the other hand, are more interested in concrete objects and things.”
An article in Scientific American is towing the line between linguistics and psychology, deconstructing the differences in how we use language....more