MLA: It's time to embrace the singular "they"

MLA: It's time to embrace the singular "they"

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Gabriel Winer started this petition to Executive Di Paula M. Krebs and

The Modern Language Association's position on use of the singular they needs to catch up to modern usage. On their webpage What is the MLA’s approach to the singular they?, published in October 2018, they allow for the non-gendered pronoun for a specific individual who requests it, but still prefer the outdated use of he or she for an unknown person rather than they, although they admit that  "some writers may find singular, gender-specific constructions insufficient, given that many people do not identify with a particular gender."

They end with the following caveat: 

The MLA’s usage guidelines mostly follow the consensus of good practice among authors and editors of scholarly works. If a consensus emerges on a singular generic personal pronoun, we’ll most likely incorporate it into our usage. 

MLA, that time has come! Along with major dictionaries, your parallel organization, the APA, has fully embraced the singular they as more accurate than previous alternatives, and it's time for the MLA to join them.

It is confusing for students to contend with contradictory rules from different authoritative sources.  Your continuing rejection of this common usage encourages teachers and editors to cling to an outdated, grammatically awkward, and factually inaccurate construction.

The English language has evolved - it's only a matter of time. Please take this step proactively.

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