I hear it all the time. I'm sure you do, too. They do this. They did that. The question that drives me nuts is who are "they?" As my ever-vigilant English teacher would say, this use of a pronoun without and antecedent is horrendous.

You ask someone a question. Let's pretend it's about why the professional baseball field looks so nice (I know that's a little far-fetched, but bear with me here). They simply respond with something like: "They work really hard to keep the field nice." But who is "they?" Do they mean the groundskeepers? The ballplayers? Little green aliens who use ray guns to keep the field in perfect condition?

As I child I would ask my parents numerous questions such as "Why do we have taxes?" or "How does a telephone work?" Every single response I got usually mentioned some strange breed of people only known as "they." They were brought up so often that I even began to develop a mental picture in my head of what "they" looked like. I associated them with God because it seemed to me that "they" were responsible for just about everything.

So, to this day, there is little that annoys me more than the mention of "their" name. When I ask a question about something I don't want to just know why a certain thing is the way it is, I want to know who made it the way it is, and if "they" did everything, "they" must be pretty powerful people. If this compulsive use of the word "they" goes on much longer, I say we expell it from language as we known it.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.