Commonwealth Policy Center

The word “they” is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year. According to Merriam-Webster’s website, lookups for the word “they” increased by 313 percent in 2019. So why all the interest in a simple pronoun? The answer is that “they” is the preferred pronoun for people who consider their gender to be nonbinary. In other words, transgender people are beginning to use the word “they” in place of the pronouns he or she. Of course, “they” has always been used as a pronoun that refers to more than one person. So is pronoun usage dependent on a person’s preference? A sixth grade grammar teacher would likely say no. But regardless of where you come down on pronoun usage, respect and civility should temper every conversation.