Elizabeth (runnerchild) wrote in suggestions,

Change wording of comment notification email to avoid pronouns

Change wording of comment notification email to avoid pronouns

Short, concise description of the idea
Change the wording of the comment notification email from "[user] replied to your LiveJournal post... Their comment was..." to a form without a pronoun, to avoid the sticky grammatical situation of gender-neutral pronouns.

Full description of the idea
The comment notification email currently reads:

"[User] ([username]) replied to your LiveJournal post in which you said:

[post quoted here]

Their reply was:

[reply here]"

Many people feel that "they/their/them" is not grammatically correctly used here, since it is a plural pronoun, and the commenter is presumably only one person. I propose instead a form that eliminates the need for pronouns, such as:

"The reply was:" or

"[username] replied:"

An ordered list of benefits

  • "Their" is considered by some to be plural, and so non-grammatical.
  • Constructions like "his/her" or "his or her" are clunky; most gender-neutral pronouns (eir, hir, zir) are likely to be unfamiliar or controversial to many.
  • Including the username (or name) is more personalized and makes the sentence more active.
  • An ordered list of problems/issues involved

  • I will probably be told that I am being too grammatically picky... but the end result would not appear self-consciously PC, because pronouns aren't necessary to get the message across.
  • An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation

  • Not much, just changing the wording of the email.
  • Tags: notifications, site copy, § rejected
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