10 4

First, a little background you need: I hate textspeak. I mean, some of it I have to be okay with. Items and acronyms that have been in the lexicon for so long that virtually everyone knows them like 'LOL' are too ubiquitous at this point to argue against. But when a message is saturated with textspeak, grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors to the point where it takes you longer to figure out what it says than the amount of time they saved by writing improperly, they are telling you something. They are treating you like an asshole and telling you they think their time is more valuable than yours. I won't engage with it. Just the other day, during a discussion with the girlfriend of an acquaintance of mine who is a horrendous textspeak abuser, we found that he texts us differently, apparently because of my staunch anti-textspeak stance. What I'm saying is that it's inconsiderate and no one should tolerate it.

Also, I think I'm pretty progressive. At least I did. Maybe the definition of being progressive has continued to evolve and left me behind, but I really try to be as understanding as possible to people's situations.

Why am I telling you all this? I am fine with any number of gender designations. If you don't feel like any of them fit you, and you feel you need to have a label, make one up that works and run with it. The pronouns, too. Tell me what pronoun you'd like me to use for you, and if I need to use one, I'll do my best to remember and use it.

Except one.

I refuse to use they/them for a solitary person. It is incredibly inconsiderate to your reader. Numerous times while reading something, I've had to reread a few sentences because I figured I missed something because there was suddenly a plural pronoun when I thought we were only talking about one person. If none of the pronouns that are already available work for you, that's fine, make a new one. A lot have already been made up. (Although, maybe people aren't so incredibly fucking special and unique that they need an entirely new word to describe them? I could be wrong.) But taking a word that already means one thing and then asking everyone to agree that it also means the exact opposite is some ridiculous shit I'm not prepared to tolerate.

What do you think? Do you also hate the appropriation of a plural pronoun for one person? Am I just an asshole?

ChestRockfield 8 Apr 13

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Also, it bears noting that what the original poster is calling text speak actually dates decades before texting was even invented.

As early as 1989, one can find published newsletters listing acronyms like lol AFK BRB etc. Meaning that these abbreviations are not a new phenomenon but have been part of the internet for well over 30 years, are not the invention of today's kids, and is born of a time where every character cost money and thus, like telegrams before them, abbreviations and efficiency created a new idiom.

To be clear, doesn't matter if you call it textspeak chatspeak or Internet slang. But I just wanted to disabuse this notion that these acronyms are a cutrent fad when their use in fact stretches back at least 30 years


If you get a person's pronoun wrong upon first meeting, and they get offended, they are the asshole.

If you purposefully get the person's pronoun wrong upon subsequent meetings, and they get offended, you are the asshole.

This is no different than my name being Richard and you insisting on calling me Dick, despite continual insistence that I want to be called Richard and not Dick. And despite the fact that Dick is an accepted form of Richard.

In this case, I think most everyone would agree that the person calling me Dick is being a dick themselves.


Gall darn kids and their newfangled idioms!!!

"The Oxford English Dictionary traces singular they back to 1375, where it appears in the medieval romance William and the Werewolf."


I have never textedand do not see the need for it. I would much prefer to talk with others either in person, or on the phone.


I think the older we are, perhaps the less we are familiar with some of the texting acronyms, I remember having to think pretty hard to figure out what people were trying to say IFKWIM. (haha) Often I'd have to look it up.

As far as pronouns, I get a lot of business inquiries by email from people with names that could be any gender, and I'm just not sure not only of their gender, but also the gender of who they are planning to marry, so not sure whether to refer to them as bride, groom, spouse, wife, partner, etc., so I do have to do a little bit of a dance so not to make an embarrassing mistake. In addition to that, they might have hired a photographer or musician, and other vendors for which I don't know their gender.

So, I end up using s/he or their title and sometime before their event, I get their genders worked out. A few times I've actually been so puzzled that I ask to see a copy of their marriage license, which does indicate their genders for the state.

So, in writing I usually type s/he or sometimes they. It works for a solitary person for whom I don't know their gender, or also how "they" might identify. Therefore I think "they" is a useful term.

Seems the only time a client will actually have their preferred pronoun in their email signature are for clients for whom it's pretty obvious, but they say so anyway. Oh well.

Maybe we all need to be referring to ourselves in the 3rd person to avoid any confusion, haha, such as Julie is a person who likes to know how what pronouns her clients prefer. 🙂

That sounds like a nightmare. If I had to do that, I'd type up a form that asks a bunch of info you need anyway, and I'd include all the gender and pronoun questions on the form and make it a first priority.

As an educator, it's gotten harder to identify gender by name. We've gone through the last few years with popular girl baby names being masculine. A couple I know named their daughters Crawford, Bennie, and Boone. That's really going to confuse their teachers. It's hard to know. I had a female student who dressed like a male, and had a masculine name, so I referred to her as "he" and she got really offended. It's hard to know and we seem to be expected to read minds.

I like your response a lot because it highlights that in respecting other people there are times when we all have to do a little "extra work" to better understand their perspective, their words, their intention, etc. I have this nagging, though unproven, feeling that a lot of the people that object to pronoun choice are people that object to having to do any extra work to be understood or to understand others. As someone that has traveled many nations, learned many languages, I fully understand that if I want others to make the effort to understand me, I need to make effort to understand them... And that includes learning pronouns, acronyms, idioms, expressions, that I may not be familiar, or even comfortable, with.

I would also like to build up on your support of using "they".
In a completely different field, that of scientific publications, for as long as I've been a physicist we've been taught to be in the habit of referring to everyone as they. Be it male or female singular or plural. After all, in a scientific publication it's really irrelevant whether she did it or he did it or they did it only that it was done.


The other thing that people should remember, at least here on this site, is that this is an international site, used by English speakers across the world, as well as many for whom English is a second language. Neither of those groups will share the same conventions and quirks of text speak or local quirks. For that reason it is best and polite to stick with plain English.

For sure. I've heard that English is one of the hardest languages to learn because of all of the ridiculous rules and the more ridiculous exceptions to those ridiculous rules. Don't know why people need to complicate it even more. Language is a tool to covey meaning. Why do people want a shittier tool that doesn't work as well? Personally, I don't like wasting my time and if I'm going to bother to speak or write to someone, I'd prefer the message came across the way I meant it.

@JeffMurray Sadly, I think that people want a shittier tool which does not work as well, because they want to be divisive. Because they want to create private languages that only the in group can understand, in part to defend their precious unsupported dogmas against questioning from outside.

@Fernapple Ah, that's a good point. Which ultimately is counterproductive because the goal is for everyone to understand your movement/group.

Not in this case. In this case these acronyms are born as a direct result of people having to pay for their bandwidth in the past. This is why you start seeing AFK LOL etc popping up in the BBS and use net forms in the late 80s, on the earliest incarnations of social media such as CompuServe and AOL online in the '90s, and then eventually in text in the 2000s. Remember that at one point we have to pay for every character on all these mediums and thus away from keyboard is a lot more expensive than AFK

@TheMiddleWay Yes, text messages are an exception historically, but that is not over the long run of centuries the main thing driving insider language.


I feel the same way. My means of dealing with it, should it occur, will be to roll my eyes and stop talking to them at all.


tbh, iawy. inet slng is bs

Very funny.

@JeffMurray I'm sorry. buddy, I can't help myself.


Language and communication evolve, especially now. I don't have a problem with 'them' or 'they' being singular. Even more so given the baggage that now comes with gender-based pronouns. I didn't like giving up 'gay' and 'meme'. Language is a social commons and having parts of the commons cordoned off for exclusive uses goes against my grain. However, in language, usage dictates the rules whether I like it or not.

For contrast, I resent trying to understand Shakespeare. It may be quaint, but I much prefer clarity. Still, it is instructive to see how much change occurs. And early American documents where the 's' looks like an 'f'. Yikes!


I agree and a sign of our smart phone times. A great shame cursive writing is not taught in schools anymore (Australia anyway). Thus eye/ hand co-ordination is lacking in the newer generation but they are brilliant when typing with their thumbs.
The irony of using all these pronouns is it really is an English language problem only with many languages, French being one, having feminine and masculine terms scattered throughout. So if the PC brigade got world wide influence, you would have to alter whole languages.

puff Level 7 Apr 14, 2022


Abbreviations like AFK LOL etc date back to the earliest days of the internet. As early as 1989, one can see newsletters publishing these acronyms as being already widely used in the BBS and Usenet forums

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:660727
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.