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03-Sep-2017 12:01

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Previous guidance for using pronouns is fairly limited in the stylebook, almost incidental, and it’s what you would expect.

In the 2016 edition, the their, there, they’re entry begins, “ is a plural possessive pronoun and must agree in number with the antecedent.” The his, her entry in the same edition does nudge readers toward gender-neutrality in pronouns, but does not go so far as to advocate the use of singular may sometimes be the best option marks a more widespread recognition of the need for a gender-neutral singular pronoun, and that singular they can fill that need.

C.'s oldest continuously operated hotel, the hotel located across the street from the White House.

In March 2009, the Washington Post published a cover story about how more children of immigrants are seeking partners of the same ethnicity, and how Professionals in the City is catering to this societal change by expanding "its repertoire of lectures and wine-tastings over the past year to include 'speed dating' nights for people of Asian, Latino or South Asian descent." This article quoted Karlan as saying that targeting ethnic groups makes sense in the Washington area, which has more than 1 million immigrants.

The entry ends with some syntactical guidance for using a word that is conceptually singular but grammatically plural: When they is used in the singular, it takes a plural verb: Taylor said they need a new car.

Prior to forming his business, Karlan worked as an attorney, first with Covington & Burling and then with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To be sure, the Associated Press has it: The new AP Stylebook entry for they, them, their reminds readers several times that rewording a sentence is preferable to using singular they.

The entry begins like this: In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent. They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy.

The is appropriate, but again, the emphasis is on rewording to avoid it: A singular they might be used when an anonymous source’s gender must be shielded and other wording is overly awkward.

In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible.

Public radio offers a clutter free environment with short and concise messages.