Scenes From A Grammar War
My Dearest Husband:
I take iPhone in hand to assure you I am well and I hope you are the same.
How I miss you! Though I know my cause is true and I fight on the side of Right, still, there are times I weaken. On this, Day Four of the Battle of the Grammarians, rations run low and tempers run high.
We have plenty of food, thanks to the custodian of this ivory tower having serviced all vending machines just one day before the battle broke out. This morning I breakfasted on a granola bar, a Three Musketeers and a Diet Coke. God willing, we will prevail before I am forced into the horrors of Slim Jims and root beer.
The low rations I refer to, of course, are books.
A veritable treasure trove of Contemporary English Literature books sit just one floor below, but we three language soldiers happened to be in a large conference room on the seventh floor of this tower when the war broke out.
Alas, the Anti-Grammarians hold the rest of the tower.
Thus, the only books available to my comrades and me are those in the backpack of Ms. Star, a graduate assistant who teaches Renaissance and 17th Century Literature.
We have taken our stand.
The word “they” is a plural pronoun. No more, no less.
We have reluctantly given ground in the matter of non-binary people who choose this pronoun. We suggested all manner of substitute words. We particularly liked Charlie Kaufman’s word, “thon,” and are gravely disappointed it has not caught on. (We have sent an urgent message to him by Facebook, and we are still hopeful he will come and save us.)
However, we have agreed to allow the use of “their” as a singular pronoun only in non-binary matters, subject to change should Mr. Kaufman be able to negotiate a side agreement acceptable to all.
For all other uses, we uphold traditional English grammar.
You know, dearest husband, how strongly I feel about these things.