Sunday, January 17, 2016


"They" has been declared the 2015 word of the year. 

That means if you find yourself typing sentences with s/he or him/her, you are now allowed to use "they" or "them".

If you've always used "they" as a singular pronoun, well - I applaud you. But know this. You used to be wrong but you are now suddenly right by the magic and power vested in those committees that decide who is right and who is wrong. What power, indeed. I am unsure whether you are right beginning now or whether your previous wrongs have been retroactively writ right. If you are one of those sticklers who like to know how often they are right, these kinds of accounting details can be important. I do not have an answer for you. I apologize.

If you have never found yourself typing s/he or him/her because you always thought "they" was correct - well, please refer to comment above. But if you were the sort who simply defaulted to using "he" and "him", please know that I like you a little less. Whoever you might be. The ability to like someone a little less is infinitely vast. So it does not matter how many of you there are. I like all of you a little less. Henceforth, please use "they".

But, if you, like me, keep typing him/her and grating your teeth at how difficult it is to do in Whatsapp or finding the whole insertion of a "/" standing out like an ugly, sore, attention-demanding punctuation mark (they all are, actually), then revel in your liberation.


One more step into a world where we will all have a conversation with a lot of "theys" and "thems" and not know if its a single person or many persons and whether they are girls or boys or gender-fluid people. It's a merry world. If you get confused in 2015, let's hope 2016 has a word for it.

Also, does anyone think that if "they" is now a word of the year - which happens to be a world that already exists - we are entering an era in which they are going to be fewer and fewer neologisms. Does that mean that we now have a vocabulary to describe anything and everything? Or perhaps that means we no longer communicate through words, but with pictures and vines and instagrams and short tweet. Or does that mean we are no longer communicating at all.

I do not know. All that I can say is that I was a bit disappointed that the 2015 word of the year was not something more jazzy. But perhaps it's just as well that it's a word that provides the illusion of beginning to fix the faults of the past. There is much to applaud in that.

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