To They or Not to They

To they, or not to they: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The starts and changes of outrageous grammar,
Or to take up arms against a singular they,
And by correcting end it? To write: to fix;
No more; and by a pen to say we edit
The heart-ache and the thousand grammar shocks
That they is heir to; ’tis a pluralization
Devoutly to be fixed. To write, to fix;
To fix: perchance to mar: ay, there’s the rub;
For with that pen of red what mess may come
When we have shuffled off that plural coil,
Must give us pause; there’s the respect
That makes editorial change a choice;
For who would bear the author’s scorns in time;
The wordier song, the s/he monstrosity,
The pangs of confused frame, the point’s delay,
The insolence of re-writing and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When they themselves might their changes make
With a pared pencil? But who would errors bear,
To edit and sweat under a too-bright light,
But that the dread of unidiomatic usage,
Or gender-biased wording from whose bourn
No sexist returns; puzzles the will
And makes us rather leave those wrongs we know
And fly to others that would cause less harm?
Thus conscience does bring errors for us all;
And thus the native words of English language
Are painted o’er with the bright cast of thought,
And linguistic changes of great pith and moment
With this regard their errors turn to right,
And become proper usage.

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1 Response to To They or Not to They

  1. Rain, Rain says:

    I agree with y’all.


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