me when a 'grammarian' complains about singular they: and yet thou usest singular ye? mayhaps thou shouldst get a real job
'you' actually *became* a singular pronoun at a particular point in the history of English. this is not clearly true about 'they', which seems to have been the unmarked, ungendered singular pronoun for as long as the recognizable personal pronoun system has been in place
there was, however, a historical moment when a bunch of 'grammarians' (again: made-up job!) with a boner for Romance languages began to insist that 'he' was a gender-neutral pronoun. this seems to have never taken root in the spoken vernacular, ever
grammatical number, the thing that makes verbs change shape, the difference between "is" and "are," is not actually well correlated to the number of objects referred to.
a "pair of pants" theoretically refers to the tubes of fabric that go on each of your legs (sorry Brits!), each one of which is called a 'pant,' but the whole object is inseparable.
you can sort of understand why a "pair of scissors" is the way it is, but that's definitely one object hinged firmly together, and there is no 'scissor' (except as a verb).
likewise, a "pair of glasses" does not refer to the pieces of glass in the glasses frames, but to the object in gestalt. there's a word for the piece of glass, 'lens', but "a glass" refers to a drinking vessel.
so yeah. this is my friend. they are nonbinary.
@byttyrs this rules
@byttyrs queen this is really good
@byttyrs Exactly. Prescriptivism is unscientific poppycock.
@byttyrs this thread is so blessed
@byttyrs and really interesting too :D
@byttyrs Cool. I wasn't aware of the "you" situation.
And as for "they", see also modern usage such as "Someone dropped *their* wallet. I'll give it to the Information desk so *they* can easily find it."
Makes 100% perfect sense when used in the singular.
@byttyrs listen here fam,, i live in a house with three enbies and i desperately need a singular and plural they. please give me a theys im on my knees with ambiguity
@scattapilla My roommates, I love thems, but theys left theiser pizza boxes all over the living room. I wish theys would learn to pick up after themselves.
@byttyrs pants historically were act sold as two separate tubes that you tied to a belt to make one "pair"! It took them a while to figure out how to do the seaming to fuse both legs into one object and also it was an aesthetic to have two different colored leg tubes so you'd buy them separately so you could mix and match.
I just have weird pants trivia so I wanted to share!
Source: costume history class in undergrad
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