Inclusive words on Scrabble tilesA post about looking for a gender-neutral option for man-hours is one of the most-read on this blog, according to the analytics. (Long story short, person-hours is an acceptable substitute; also try work-hours or staff-hours.)

Increasingly, people are looking for words that count people in.

These days, we have a new way to count people in; the singular they. As Merriam-Webster notes, they is “a pronoun of choice for someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. This is a different use than the traditional singular they, which is used to refer to a person whose gender isn’t known or isn’t important in the context.”

My November newsletter, Wordnerdery, takes a look at the use of they, why some people object to it, and why workplaces should be taking a closer look at gender-neutral language. As I quote Oliver Featherston in CEO Magazine, “As we move towards a more equal, tolerant world, even little changes like inclusive language can help society as a whole progress.”

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