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December 14, 2006


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You've put your finger on it: laziness is the root of the problem. In speech, we often paint ourselves into pronoun corners, but in writing, it is ALWAYS possible to re-write the sentence, and seldom difficult. Take the logline for Mel Gibson's movie: "No one can outrun their destiny." What's wrong with "No one can outrun destiny"? -M.

I don't see why it's sloppy. It's certainly not acceptable or grammatical to everyone, but it makes sense as an extension of "they" from a common-gender, common-number pronoun to a pronoun that can refer to a specific gender. Language Log has some examples


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